Mental health is a person’s emotional and social wellbeing. Everyone has mental health, just like we all have physical health. When mental health declines it can affect emotions, feelings, thoughts, social connections and actions. This can impact participation in school, work, and relationships. Mental health problems are common. They are usually reactions to personal and social issues, such as relationships breaking down, illness, changing schools, loss of friends, and are usually not too severe or long lasting.
What is the difference between a mental health problem and a mental illness?
When mental health problems last for long periods of time and severely affect someone’s everyday life, it may be that the problem is becoming an illness. Mental illness affects the way a person thinks, feels, behaves or interacts with others and can affect someone’s actions or memory. The most common mental illnesses are anxiety and depression. Less common mental illnesses include bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and schizophrenia.
How is Mental Illness Diagnosed?
Psychiatrists or psychologists usually interview the child’s parents, carers, or teachers and ask them to fill in questionnaires about the child. They will usually observe and interview the child. Ideally, they should take a full history of the child and consider if there are any medical issues that also need to be explored.