What is Mental Health? - Maple Services
What is Mental Health?

What is Mental Health?

Mental Health is a word, phrase, idiom, used so often all around the world, and its use is becoming so much more predominant as the years continue to tick by. But, if we were to sit here and ask you what is the actual definition of Mental Health, would you be able to provide it?

Just like the conditions encompassed under the Mental Health umbrella, the terminology of mental health, mental illness, mental ill-health, psychosocial disabilities and so on, can be quite confusing.

So, lets unpack some of these common phrases and their meanings:


What is Mental Health?

Mental Health is “A state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”.

In essence, it refers to the general state of a person’s mental wellbeing. Similar to physical health, we all have a current state of mental health, which can change over time, and in response to the world. Mental Health can also be referred to as “mental wellbeing”. Just like there are things we can do to improve our overall physical health, there are things we can do to improve our overall mental health in a way that works for us as individuals. 

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

Mental Health is linked with all aspects of our lives, our confidence, self-esteem and overall satisfaction. It relates to how we:

  • think and feel
  • manage in difficult situations
  • cope when feeling pressured and under stress
  • connect with other people and develop relationships
  • make choices and decisions
  • are able to achieve our potential.

It is important to remember that Mental health is about wellness and not illness.


What is Mental Illness?

Mental Illness refers specifically to a clinical diagnosis. These diagnoses usually describe various mental health symptoms which can interfere with an individual’s cognitive, emotional, or social abilities. It is these diagnoses which are referred to as mental health conditions.

A mental illness significantly affects how a person feels, thinks, behaves, and interacts with other people. It is diagnosed according to standardised criteria. The term mental disorder is also used to refer to these health problems.” (Australia Department of Health).

Mental illness is more common than people realise. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimate that one in five Australians experience mental illness in any year. There is no single cause for mental illness, it is a mix of factors and can affect anyone.

It is also important to remember that conditions encompassed within the mental illness bracket may be intermittent, and many people will have periods of being well and periods of being unwell.

Mental illnesses are diverse, and each can occur with a varying degree of severity.


What is Psychosocial Disability?

Psychosocial disability is a term used to describe a disability that may arise from a mental health issue. A psychosocial disability arises when someone with a mental health issue interacts with a social environment that presents barriers to their equality with others. Not everyone with mental illness has a psychosocial disability.

“Psychosocial disability is a term used to describe a disability that may arise from a mental health issue.” (NDIS)

Psychosocial disability is not about a diagnosis, it is about the functional impact and barriers which may be faced by someone living with a mental health condition. A psychosocial disability arises when someone with a mental health condition interacts with a social environment that presents barriers to their equality with others.

Psychosocial disability may restrict a person’s ability to:

  • be in certain types of environments
  • concentrate
  • have enough stamina to complete tasks
  • cope with time pressures and multiple tasks
  • interact with others
  • understand constructive feedback
  • manage stress.

Someone with a psychosocial disability may require support to overcome the barriers to social inclusion they face.


Early Warning Signs of Mental Ill-health to keep an eye out for

October is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we are on a mission to raise much needed awareness for mental health within the community. That is why it is important to be aware of some of the potential early warning signs of mental ill-health.  

Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviour’s can be an early warning sign of a problem:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school


If you or a loved one is experienced mental ill-health, seek help:

  • Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511 Open 24/7
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800


Maple Community Services and Mental Health.

Here at Maple Community Services, we provide much needs supports and services to those under the NDIS. We specialise in mental health, cognitive disability, and psychosocial disability supports.

If you have any questions around how Maple can assist you or your loved one through your NDIS journey, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Phone: 1800 780 964

Email: [email protected]