A lot of discussion exists around mental illness and disorder but while I was reading the Oxford Handbook of Psychiatry yesterday, I came across an interesting passage about good mental health.
‘Good mental health is more than simply the absence of mental disorder, it requires:
- A sense of self sufficiency, self esteem, and self worth
- The ability to put one’s trust in others
- The ability to give and receive friendship, affection and love.
- The ability to form enduring emotional attachments.
- The ability to experience deep emotions.
- The ability to forgive others and oneself.
- The ability to examine oneself and consider change.
- The ability to learn from experience.
- The ability to tolerate uncertainty and take risks.
- The ability to engage in reverie and fantasy’
I don’t think I had ever seen ‘criteria’ for good mental health before as a lot of the literature seems to focus on the negative so it made for an interesting read.
The list makes it much clearer how tentative the line is between the health and the illness. I’m not sure many people could tick all those boxes with a clear conscience on a daily basis.
The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive discusses very eloquently, the relation between mental illness and self and by looking at the list it seems that a lot of factors that are very much fundamental to who we are as individuals are included. Surely some people are more forgiving than others, more thoughtful and reflective than others, but does that make them less sound of mind.
I thought it was an interesting guide, in any case!
(and the book seems to be available free in electronic form on Google Books – the above text is taken from page 7 if anyone cares to investigate!).