Understanding Mental Wellness and Life Assets
ACMHI uses the term ‘mental wellness’ to make sure that it’s not confused with “mental illness and mental issues” as people sometimes use the term mental health to mean. The Foundations brief described five key foundations that are important to understanding mental wellness within ACMHI’s comprehensive Mentally Healthy Campus strategy:
- Mental wellness and mental illness or issues are not opposites, but develop along different trajectories (sometimes described as different continua);
- Mental wellness is process as well as a state;
- Mental wellness is both individual and collective;
- Mental wellness relates to brain development as well as behaviours and states we can observe;
- We are influenced by, and influence our environments. We contribute to, as well as benefit from positive enabling environments.
The visuals below may help to see the difference between but relationship of mental wellness and mental illness:
This diagram shows the ecology of mental illness and mental wellness in a population, as well as the reality that individual people are not isolated – we live in environments that we influence and are influenced by.
If you wish to dive deeper into the topic of mental wellness, the following sections provide more information:
- There are multiple, interdependent aspects to mental wellness, including emotional, cognitive and relational aspects. These develop along their own trajectories and influence each other.
- Different people prize different aspects of wellness – five are identified.
- Mental wellness skills and assets are learnable.
- You can build mental wellness skills and assets even further – from Resilience to Life Assets
- Mental wellness relates to the collective as well as to an individual – a Mentally Healthy Campus as a collective expression of mental wellness.
- So what? – how does this influence your Strategy?
**These are intended as brief informational resources, not for professional guidance. If you or someone you know is having persistent or severe challenges or symptoms that are affecting their normal daily activities or relationships with others, then please consult professional help on your campus or in your community.