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Mental Health and Mental Illness

Mental Health and Mental Illness

Sample Answer 

Mental Health and Mental Illness

The terms mental health and mental illness are commonly used in nursing practice, yet very few people understand clearly the differences between the two. Mental health is a term commonly used to describe emotional, cognitive, and social well-being. According to WHO, mental health is “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can contribute to her or his community” (George, n.d.). Being mentally healthy means that an individual is resilient, can cope with life stresses and challenges, and can make sound decisions and meaningful relations. Some of the factors that influence mental health include physical health (including diseases and disabilities), social relationships with others, life experiences, economic factors (such as employment), and one’s environment or surroundings.

On the other hand, mental illness includes a broad range of diseases and conditions that impact behavior, thinking, and mood. Individuals suffering from mental illnesses are often distressed and cannot function properly at home, workplace, or in social settings (Pierre, 2012). Some of the major categories of mental illnesses or disorders include addictive behaviors (such as alcohol addiction), eating disorders, trauma disorders, schizophrenia, personality disorders, mood disorders (such as bipolar), anxiety, depression, and many others. Mental illnesses can affect anyone in any part of the world. In the U.S., the National Institute of Mental Health (2021) estimates that nearly 1 in 5 adults lived at least with a mental disorder in 2019 (which represents 51.5 million people). Some common mental illness symptoms include agitation, self-harm, suicidal ideations, hopelessness, social withdrawal, compulsion, mood swings, appetite changes, and mood swings. Some of the risk factors for mental illnesses include stressful life situations (like divorce, loss of a job, or death of a loved one), brain damage, traumatic experiences (such as assault), alcohol abuse, childhood history of neglect or abuse, and exposure to unhealthy and abusive relationships.


George, T. (n.d.). What is the difference between mental health and mental illness? HIF,

The National Institute of Mental Health. (2021). Mental Illness. Retrieved from,mild%20to%20moderate%20to%20severe

Pierre, J. M. (2012). Mental illness and mental health: Is the glass half empty or half full? Psychiatry, 57(1), 651-658.


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Mental Health and Mental Illness

Mental health and mental illness are common terms used in nursing.

Mental Health and Mental Illness

Mental Health and Mental Illness

a. Differentiate between mental health and mental illness.
b. Include factors influencing mental health and mental illness

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