Mental health vs mental illness. What’s the deal?

Mental health is the state where you are able to cope with day-to-day life stresses, get involved in your community and live your life in a free and happy way. Mental health is not about having a mental illness. Your mental health affects how you think, feel and act so that you can control how you react, connect to others, and make choices. It is just as important as your physical health. Sometimes your mental health can be good and sometimes it can be bad.

It is usual for your mood to change within one day or every few days, depending on what is happening at the time. You may be very happy if you do well at school and feel very sad if your soccer team loses, for example.

If your mental health is good, it means that you have found a way to balance the different areas of your life and have effective ways to cope with life.

You will:

  • Feel positive about yourself, your life and future
  • Do better at school
  • Take an interest in activities
  • Have people in your life that you care for and who care about you
  • Feel that your life is valuable and worthwhile
  • Feel calm, peaceful and take better care of your body

If your mental health is not good, it means that your negative feelings, thoughts and actions are interfering with your daily life and behaviours. You may do things like not get enough sleep, not go to school, fight in your relationships, and do risky things (like having unprotected sex). Bad mental health works on a scale, from having a “bad day” all the way to being so overwhelmed that you cannot live everyday life. You may even have a mental illness and need help from a psychologist or a doctor.There is nothing wrong with asking for help. If you’re struggling to cope, speak to a healthcare provider at your local clinic or contact loveLife:

loveLife Call Centre: 0800 121 900 (from any Telkom public phone)

loveLife Pls Cal Me Service:
Vodacom: *140*0833231023#
MTN: *121*0833231023#
Cell C: *111*0833231023#
Telkom: *140*0833231023#

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