Mental health and wellbeing strategy

Strategy laying out our approach to improving mental health for everyone in Scotland.

5. Definitions

We have taken views and contributions from our stakeholders to arrive at a set of working definitions. The various terms associated with mental health are often used interchangeably.

This document uses the following definitions:

Mental health is a part of our overall health, alongside our physical health. It is what we experience every day, and like physical health, it ebbs and flows daily. Good mental health means we can realise our full potential and feel safe and secure. It also means we thrive in everyday life.

Mental wellbeing is our internal positive view that we are coping well psychologically with the everyday stresses of life and can work productively and fruitfully. We feel happy and live our lives the way we choose.

Mental illness is a health condition that affects emotions, thinking and behaviour, which substantially interferes with or limits our life. If left untreated, mental illnesses can significantly impact daily living, including our ability to work, care for family, and relate and interact with others.

Mental illness is a term used to cover several conditions (e.g. depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia) with different symptoms and impacts for varying lengths of time for each person. Mental illnesses can range from mild through to severe illnesses that can be lifelong.

Mental wellbeing, mental health and mental illness are linked to a combination of factors covering biology (e.g. genetics, health and neurodiversity), psychology (e.g. thoughts, emotions and beliefs) and social factors (e.g. culture, poverty and discrimination). These three areas combine with a person's life experiences to impact our state of mind. This impact varies over time, does not progress in a straight line and is specific to an individual.



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