Promoting positive mental health

Promoting positive mental health in everyday life is beneficial for everyone. Learn about positive mental health and how you can help promote it.

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What is positive mental health?

Positive mental health includes:

  • feeling in control of your life and personal decisions
  • being able to cope with life's challenges and stresses
  • functioning well mentally, such as being able to focus while at work
  • being generally optimistic about life events
    • this means having hope that good things can, do and will happen in your life
  • feeling physically healthy
  • getting enough sleep
  • feeling like you belong to your community, such as your:
    • school
    • church
    • neighbourhood
    • workplace

When you have positive mental health, you are able to handle problems and challenges more easily. This is called resilience.

If you are resilient, you have:

  • the ability to learn new skills, ideas and concepts
  • the ability to adapt to change and new situations
  • healthy self-esteem
    • this means having a positive attitude about yourself
  • confidence when managing conflict
  • personal support from family and friends
  • good ways of coping with stress, such as knowing how to:
    • relax
    • practise positive self-talk to think through situations before acting and to prevent negative thoughts
    • avoid stressful social relationships, such as interacting with people who make you feel bad about yourself or uncomfortable
    • plan pleasant events for yourself and keeping those plans

What can affect mental health?

Your mental health can be improved with:

  • healthy family, school, work and romantic relationships
  • good working conditions, including:
    • stable employment
    • opportunities to develop professionally
    • feeling that your work is valued
  • a healthy eating pattern
  • physical activity
  • positive educational experiences
  • community interactions, such as volunteer work and sports
  • safe and well-maintained housing
  • access to supportive resources, such as counselling

Your mental health can be weakened by:

  • ongoing bullying or harassment in:
    • the workplace
    • at school
    • the family setting
  • unemployment
  • poor diet
  • family violence or trauma
  • living with racial, ethnic, gender or religious discrimination
  • drug or alcohol abuse
  • isolation from your community and interests
  • unsafe and poorly maintained housing

How can you promote positive mental health in daily life?

You can promote positive mental health in your daily life and in the life of others by:

  • helping people to feel included in your community:
    • plan community events like a barbecue
    • organize reading, running, or arts and crafts programs
  • participating in physical activities and encouraging participation of:
    • family members
    • work colleagues
    • friends
    • neighbours
  • taking ownership of your life experiences and not blaming your situation on events beyond your control
  • eating well
  • creating and monitoring safe play areas for children
  • being accepting of changes in your environment, such as:
    • a new job
    • changing schools
    • going through a divorce
    • the death of a loved one
    • being diagnosed with an illness
  • identifying and realizing your goals (self-efficacy)

At all stages of life, you can build resilience and skills to help improve or maintain positive mental health. You can do this by participating in:

Why is promoting positive mental health important?

Promoting positive mental health as an everyday issue can:

  • prevent the onset of some mental health problems
  • decrease the number of people:
    • whose mental health is poor
    • who experience the symptoms of mental illness
    • who die by suicide
  • support people who suffer from mental health issues
  • increase the number of people who enjoy positive mental health

Promoting positive mental health also:

  • strengthens individuals
  • strengthens communities
  • increases access to health and social services
  • improves your physical health
    • this is because dealing with stress in a useful way can boost your immune system
  • helps to reduce the stigma of mental health
    • stigma is the negative associations made about certain people, qualities or circumstances

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