Newsletter - 16/11/18

So what does good mental health and wellbeing mean?

This week I would like to let you know about what is a definition of good mental health according to

World Health Organisation because it is the one most commonly used. Good mental health is a state of wellbeing in which:

  • Every individual realises her or his potential
  • Can cope with the normal stresses of life
  • Can work productively and fruitfully
  • Is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

It is not spelled out in this definition, but according to many studies on wellbeing there is no good mental health without physical health and vice versa. (Those of us who suffer from illnesses or chronic health conditions may need additional support to reach the sense of emotional wellbeing.)

There is also a psychological and emotional side of good mental health which is about:

  • positive mood
  • Constructive thought patterns
  • Ability to behave appropriately to a situation.

How to teach children to look after their mental health and well-being?

The simplest way is to teach them good mental health habits as we teach them to look after their physical health.  We send them to bed at the right time, remind them to eat 5 vegetables and fruit a day, get them to do sports or spend time outdoors, insist that they brush their teeth twice a day etc.

Therefore, to maintain a positive mental health for life they need a routine too.

Here is a suggestion: do at least three of the suggested 5 a day for mental wellbeing for a month and notice a difference in yours and your child’s wellbeing (use the above definition as criteria):

  1. Connect with people around you
  2. Do something active
  3. Take notice of the world
  4. Learn something new
  5. Give to others

For each child and each family connecting, being active, noticing the world, learning and giving to others will mean different things depending on circumstances. But essentially what seems to be important is that we need to be doing things to keep us physically and mentally healthy.  And as we catch a cold or get more seriously unwell, we will at times feel low, anxious etc.

Simply speaking mentally healthy people experience stress, frustrations, feelings of self-doubt, failure and rejection at times throughout their lives. Such difficulties help us to build our resilience. However, children need help with developing resilience.  Few thoughts about it in the next week Newsletter.