What is Mental Health and Mental Illness

What is mental health?

Good mental health is a sense of wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem. It enables us to fully enjoy and appreciate other people, day-to-day life and our environment.
When we are mentally healthy we can:
  • form positive relationships
  • use our abilities to reach our potential
  • deal with life’s challenges


How can we improve our mental health?

A few tips for positive mental health are:
  • talk about or express your feelings
  • exercise regularly
  • eat healthy meals
  • get enough sleep
  • spend time with friends and loved ones
  • develop new skills
  • relax and enjoy your hobbies
  • set realistic goals
  • talk to your GP or a health professional


What is mental illness?

A mental illness is a health problem that significantly affects how a person thinks, behaves and interacts with other people. It is diagnosed according to standardised criteria.
Mental illness is common. One in five Australians will experience a mental illness. It affects people of all ages, educational and income levels and cultures.
A mental health problem also affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves, but to a lesser extent than a mental illness.
Mental illnesses are of different types and degrees of severity. Some of the major types are:
  • anxiety
  • schizophrenia
  • bipolar mood disorder
  • personality disorders
  • eating disorders
  • depression
These illnesses may also be referred to as a mental disorder, mental impairment or psychiatric disability.


What causes mental illness?

Mental illness results from complex interactions between the mind, body and environment.  Factors which can contribute to mental illness are:
  • long-term and acute stress
  • biological factors such as genetics, chemistry and hormones
  • use of alcohol, drugs and other substances
  • cognitive patterns such as constant negative thoughts and low self esteem
  • social factors such as isolation, financial problems, family breakdown or violence
These factors can be minimised by a strong and supportive community environment.


Do you think you may be suffering from a mental illness?

If you feel you may be suffering from a mental illness, seek the advice of an experienced mental health professional. Visit your GP and discuss your concerns, book a longer appointment so there is time to explain your issues and how you are feeling.
Your GP may write a referral to a psychologist, which may entitle you to access Medicare rebates under the Federal Governments Better Access to Mental Health Care Rebate Scheme.
Remember your Doctor and psychologist are there to help, and will not judge.
If you would like to see a psychologist at Lifepath Psychology just ask your GP to write a referral letter, and attach your Mental Healthcare Plan. You will need to bring this referral letter and Mental healthcare Plan with you to your first appointment to receive the Medicare rebate.
To book an appointment at Lifepath Psychology, or request further information about our services, please feel free to email your query to admin@lifepathpsychology.com.au or call 6496 0039 and one of our friendly staff will more than happy to assist.