Mental Hygiene and Mental Health !
American Psychiatric Association has defined mental hygiene as “a science which suggests measures for prevention of mental illness and restoration of mental health by the cure of mental illness”.
It is also defined as “the process of investigation of the laws of mental health, and the taking of measures for its preservation”.
On the basis of these definitions we can say that mental hygiene is that science which studies laws and means of curing mental illness and also suggests measures for the development of balanced personality and adjustment.
It is clear from this explanation that mental hygiene is concerned with the promotion of positive health of individuals in a community by designing and implementing programmes which aim at reducing the incidence and prevalence of various mental illnesses.
The states of health and illness are defined according to the values of a society. Generally when a person’s behaviour is adaptive to his environment, we say that he is healthy, and when his behaviour is maladaptive, we say he is ill.
There are several definitions of mental health. The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
The significance of this definition is that it emphasises the positive state of well-being and does not focus on the lack of disease or disorder. The state of emotional well- being, or ‘mental health’, means the person functions comfortably within his society and is satisfied with himself, his society and his achievements.
We say that some person is mentally healthy, only when we see that he has maintained a balance or integration between his body, mind, spirit and his environment.