Health and wellbeing are important positive concepts associated with the emotional and social well-being of all people and their families. Being mentally healthy, or having good health, is much more than the absence of physical illness, instead, it is an ongoing state of general health.
It is about acceptance of who we are and a willingness to work towards correcting and overcoming any negative behaviors that may be a cause for concern. It is also about an acceptance of oneself as a valuable and worthy human being, capable of bringing value and enjoyment to others.
Health and wellness can be described as an approach to life that takes into account both, the physical and mental aspects of the person or family. Holistic health and wellbeing, therefore, involve an integrated view of the person, their thoughts, feelings, behavior, and qualities and how these combine to create an integrated whole.
This integrated whole encompasses the person’s mind, body, emotions, and spirits. It is not limited to these aspects but includes them in equal measure. When a person’s quality of life meets these holistic health principles, there is much more that comes through than the outward appearance.
In order for us to have lasting happiness, we must learn to manage our personal and social responses to situations that could cause unhappiness or illness. It is this ability to manage that defines health and wellbeing. The challenge is to learn what types of thoughts and reactions generate stress and how these can be controlled.
The first step is learning to be aware of how you react to events that bring you stress. This can be done by deliberately observing your reactions to illness, events, and people. Once this is learned, there are tools available to reduce the impact of those reactions. Health and wellbeing also encompass the issue of physical health.
This involves being fit and maintaining good health. A healthy diet paired with fruit of spirit supplements, regular exercise, relaxation, and adequate sleep all contribute to good health and should form a significant part of any comprehensive health and wellbeing plan. Public health is an important element of a well-rounded plan.
What about mental health and wellbeing then? How do we keep ourselves mentally healthy and at peace? What are the causes of mental illness and how can we overcome them?
In addition to public health and education programs, there are many strategies that have been developed within the field of psychology to address these questions and to improve the quality of life for those affected by mental illness.
One of the emerging strategies for mental health and wellbeing is the development of what is called the Mental Wellbeing Indicators (MHI). These are performance indicators to help determine where there are gaps and to identify those areas for improvement.
These indicators are based upon research into the experiences of those with mental illness and include measures such as the number of times the person misses days of work due to illness and/or stress, their severity, frequency and impact on functioning, and their impact on the daily lives of other people.
It is hoped that this will give an early indication of poor mental health and help to identify the need for action. By tracking progress over time, those at risk of developing serious mental illness can be encouraged to take steps to protect their wellbeing.
The Mental Health Act outlines some of the measures that are required in order to provide a benchmark for assessing the level of physical health and wellbeing and set standards of care.
For instance, the Mental Health Service Act specifies that those who experience a GP diagnosis of a mental illness are entitled to a Disability Discrimination Notice (DVN), which can block the person from taking part in employment opportunities because of their mental health problems.
A similar measure is the Care Provident Fund (CPS), which pays for accommodation and care for people with a long-term or recurring disability who have a long and prolonged disabling condition and cannot afford their own home.
A further important area of medical management and care is in preventing mental health problems by offering services such as drug treatment and behavioral health treatments. This form of treatment has been shown to improve both the physical and mental health of the patient, reduce the risk of relapse, and improve the overall quality of life.
All of these services work towards promoting a sense of wellbeing, improving mental health, and reducing the risk of serious mental illness and disease. As well as being essential elements of general medical management, they form the foundation for an integrated approach to healthcare, one which takes into account the whole person and focuses on achieving positive outcomes.
In order for any health service to work effectively it must be accessible, provide constant access, have effective communication with people, be safe and free from discrimination. Achieving all of these targets requires a holistic approach by health professionals, providers, and communities, working together to achieve the highest possible level of service quality.
The National Health Services Strategy for the Wellbeing of Patients (NHSSTP) identifies five key components of mental health and wellbeing: emotional and physical health, social support, leisure and relationships, and behavioral health.
The National Health Service (NHS) has developed a framework called the continuum model to identify the changes that have occurred within the UK since the early nineties when it first included a reference to the continuum model.