In this article we will discuss about:- 1. Meaning and Definition of Mental Health 2. Components of Mental Health 3. Criteria 4. Indicators
Meaning and Definition of Mental Health:
Mental health is a state of balance between the individual and the surrounding world. A state of harmony between oneself and others. A state of co-existence between the realities of the self and that of the other people and the environment.
Karl Menninger (1947) defines mental health as “an adjustment of human beings to the world and to each other with a maximum of effectiveness and happiness”. The American Psychiatric Association (APA, 1980) defines mental health as: “Simultaneous success at working, loving and creating with the capacity for mature and flexible resolution of conflicts between instincts, conscience, other important people and reality”.
Thus mental health would include not only the absence of diagnostic labels such as schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder but also the ability to cope with the stressors of daily living, freedom from anxieties and generally a positive outlook towards life’s vicissitudes and to cope with those.
Components of Mental Health:
The components of mental health include:
1. Ability to accept self:
A mentally healthy individual feels comfortable about himself. He feels reasonably secure and adequately accepts his surroundings. In other words, he has self-respect.
2. Capacity to feel right towards others:
An individual who enjoys good mental health is able to be sincerely interested in other’s welfare. He has friendships that are satisfying and lasting. He is able to feel as a part of a group without being submerged by it. He takes responsibility for his neighbours and his fellow members.
3. Ability to fulfill life’s tasks:
The third important component of mental health is that it bestows on the individual for the ability to meet the demands of life. A mentally healthy person is able to think for himself, set reasonable goals and take his own decisions. He does something about the problems as they arise. He shoulders his daily responsibilities and is not bowled over by his own emotions of fear, anger, love and guilt.
Criteria for Mental Health:
1. Adequate contact with reality
2. Control of thoughts and imagination
3. Efficiency in work and play
4. Social acceptance
5. Positive self-respect
6. A healthy emotional life.
Indicators of Mental Health:
Jahoda (1958) has identified six indicators of mental health which include:
1. A positive attitude towards self:
This includes an objective view of self, including knowledge and acceptance of strengths and limitations. The individual feels a strong sense of personal identity and security within the environment.
2. Growth, development and the ability for self-actualization:
This indicator correlates whether the individual successfully achieves the tasks associated with each level of development.
Integration includes the ability to adaptively respond to the environment and the development of a philosophy of life, both of which help the individual maintain anxiety at a manageable level in response to stressful situations.
Refers to the individual’s ability to perform in an independent self-directed manner; the individual makes choices and accepts responsibility for the outcomes.
5. Perception of reality:
This includes perception of the environment without distortion as well as the capacity for empathy and social sensitivity, a respect and concern for the wants and needs of others.
6. Environmental mastery:
This indicator suggests that the individual has achieved a satisfactory role within the group, society and environment. He is able to love and accept the love of others.