What do we mean by 'mental health'?

LGBTQ+ people are sadly more likely to struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. This makes you wonder, what does it mean to have good mental health?

By Team Helsa 4th December 2019

Photo by Anaya Katlego

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Team Helsa


Did you know that LGBTQ+ people are around 3-4 times more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and other common mental health issues?

This makes you wonder, what exactly is mental health? Or more appropriately, what does it really mean to have good mental health. Generally speaking, mental health is a culmination of biological, emotional, social and psychological factors.

In a nutshell, it is the way you are and the way you feel about things, people and social cues surrounding you.

Early Warning Signs and Symptoms

Each mental health issue has its own set of specific symptoms, however, experiencing one or more of the following can be an early warning sign of an underlying mental health problem.

  • Inability to focus or concentrate

  • Eating or sleeping disturbance

  • Feeling out of touch from activities you used to love before

  • Feeling numb

  • Feeling helpless or hopeless

  • Having aches and pains – usually head, shoulders and back

  • Feeling irritable and anxious

  • Experiencing severe mood swings

  • Overthinking or having persistent thoughts

  • Having suicidal thoughts or feeling that life is meaningless

  • Unable to function normally without feeling overwhelmed (anxiety)

Early detection and intervention increase your chances of a quick recovery. Take the Helsa quizzes to find out your mental health score here.

What is Good Mental Health?

This brings us to our main question, what is mental health and what does it really mean to be mentally healthy? Mental health is a spectrum. The symptoms listed are not necessarily experienced by all, nor does the presence of one or more of these imply that you are not mentally healthy.

Each individual is different and what you consider to be your normal state of being may not be true for another person. Though, at the end of the day, you will know when something isn’t what it's supposed to be and that is your cue to change something.

To conclude, we will say that good mental health is a state of being – the ability to function normally, able to work productively, set and achieve goals, and maintain positive and healthy relationships.

An important thing to remember here is that you are the one responsible for your mental and physical wellbeing. Take control of your wellbeing and know that asking for help is okay – be it in the form of seeking professional help or simply asking a close friend for emotional support.