Yes, There Is a Big Difference Between Mental Health and Mental Illness
Because the two are used interchangeably, warning signs are often overlooked
May 16, 2023
Mental health and mental illness are not the same thing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), mental illness refers to “conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, or behavior.” These can include but aren’t limited to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
Mental health reflects “our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.” Affecting “how we think, feel, and act,” mental health has a strong impact on the way we interact with others, handle problems, and make decisions.
Keep Reading To Learn
- The difference between mental health and mental illness
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- How we can increase understanding and promote mental wellness
Christopher M. Palmer, MD, director of McLean’s Department of Postgraduate and Continuing Education, pointed out that mental health and mental illness are similar to the concept of physical health and physical illness.
“It’s not all or nothing,” he said. “The term ‘mental health’ implies the absence of illness or disorder. But there are a lot of ways people can be mentally healthy or ill, just like there are many ways to be physically healthy or unwell.”
Both mental health and mental illness are states of being that are on a spectrum.