Good mental health is defined as more than just the absence of mental illness. It is a positive state of wellbeing which includes feeling good and functioning well. According to the World Health Organisation, mental health is a state of wellbeing in which a person can:
- Cope with the normal stresses of life
- Work productively
- Realise their potential
- Contribute to the community
To improve mental wellbeing, we will focus on:
- Increase resilience
- Improve social connection and inclusion
- Decrease harm from alcohol and other drugs
- Decrease harm from gambling
Resilience is the ability to cope or ‘bounce back’ after negative events, difficult situations, challenging or hard times and return to almost the same level of wellbeing. It is also the ability to respond to difficult situations and still thrive
Improve social connection and inclusion
A socially inclusive society is one where all people feel valued, their differences are respected, and their basic needs are met so they can live with dignity. Social networks can provide social support, social influence, opportunities for social engagement and meaningful social roles as well as providing access to resources and intimate one-on-one contact.
Decrease harm from alcohol and other drugs
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to an increase in risk of alcohol-related harm including cardiovascular disease, decreased life expectancy, anxiety and depression, reduced productivity in the workforce and absenteeism, accidents, and violence.
Harm from drugs occurs when an individual develops a pattern of misuse which causes damage to their physical and/or mental health and some drugs can trigger the onset of a pre-existing mental illness.
Decrease harm from gambling
Most Australians find gambling to be a harmless pastime. However, some people are unable limit the time or money spent on gambling. Harm from gambling can occur when a person’s gambling activity leads to harm to family functioning and intimate relationships, emotional and financial difficulties, and can be associated with family violence. Harm from gambling is not just about losing money. Gambling can affect a person’s whole life.
Gambling harms are a social issue of similar significance to major depressive disorder and alcohol misuse and dependence. Studies suggest that this burden of harm is mainly due to damage to relationships, emotional/psychological distress, health, and financial impacts. Gambling related harm can occur in low and moderate risk gamblers.