What does it mean to have good “mental health” and why is it so important?

The World Health Organization has defined mental health as:

“A state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

Having good mental health is essential to having good physical health. Maintaining your mental health allows you to work effectively, enjoy hobbies, and have loving relationships. Adults and children who have emotional problems are more likely to be overweight, have high blood pressure, and have poor physical health.For a description of common mental disorders, click here.

Unfortunately, thousands of people who have emotional pain suffer in silence because they do not receive mental health treatment. African Americans and Latinos, in particular, are less likely to receive mental health care when they need it. To make strong individuals, families, and communities, we have to overcome our fears and seek mental health treatment.

We all have the power to take the necessary steps to live the best life that we can. We can choose to celebrate what’s good and not focus on negativity by elevating our thinking, we can make an effort to be around people who share our values and bring out our best, and we must make a commitment to tap into our power by strengthening our minds and body.

– Written by BPGNY Members Dr. Janet Taylor and Dr. Sidney Hankerson