By understanding some key definitions and statements we have a common starting point on which to build a healthy dialogue. The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) and Mind have produced helpful definitions.
Each of the definitions and many more, are available on the MIND website which is linked at the bottom of this page.
Mental health: We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. How we feel can vary from good mental wellbeing to difficult feelings and emotions, to severe mental health problems.
Mental well-being: Mental wellbeing is the ability to cope with the day-to-day stresses of life, work productively, interact positively with others and realise our own potential. When we talk about well-being we are referring to mental well-being.
Poor mental health: Poor mental health is when we are struggling with low mood, stressor anxiety. This might mean we’re also coping with feeling restless, confused, shorttempered, upset or preoccupied. We all go through periods of experiencing poor mentalhealth – mental health is a spectrum of moods and experiences and we all have times when we feel better or worse.
Mental health problems: We all have times when we struggle with our mental health. A mental health problem is when difficult experiences or feelings go on for a long time and affect our ability to enjoy and live our lives in the way we want. You might receive a specific diagnosis from your doctor, or just feel more generally that you are experiencing a prolonged period of poor mental health.
Common mental health problems: These include depression, anxiety, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These make up the majority of the problems that lead to one in four people experiencing a mental health problem in any given year. Symptoms can range from the comparatively mild to very severe.
Severe mental health problems: These include less common conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. They can have very varied symptoms and affect your everyday life to different degrees. They are generally regarded as severe mental health problems because they often require more complex and/or long-term treatments.
Work-related stress: Work-related stress is defined by the Health and Safety Executive as the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them at work. Stress, including work-related stress, can be a significant cause of illness. It is known to be linked with high levels of sickness absence, staff turnover and other issues such as increased capacity for error. Stress is not a medical diagnosis, but severe stress that continues for a long time may lead to a diagnosis of depression or anxiety, or more severe mental health problems.