Clinical Mental Health Counselling

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Mental health is our sense of well-being. It affects how we feel, think and act. Our mental health determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices (Mental Health | CDC ).

On the other hand, mental illness refers to a wide range of diagnosable disorders found within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) that involve and affect our mood, thinking, and behavior. Mental illness can affect anyone and does not discern based on race, gender, religion, age, or social standing. It can be caused by a complex interplay of biological factors (i.e., family history, genes, brain chemistry, etc.), social factors (i.e., abuse, food insecurity, availability of resources, etc.), and situational factors (i.e., stress, adverse experiences, trauma, etc.). Signs and symptoms of mental illness may include: changes in energy level, mood, appetite, and sleep; mood swings, compulsions, persistent thoughts, social withdrawal, feeling sad, feeling hopeless, feeling agitated; having trouble performing everyday tasks; wanting to hurt oneself or others; or hearing voices. This list is not exhaustive of all the signs of symptoms of mental illness; just merely a sampling.


Both mental health and mental illness affect how we feel, think and act. Often the terms are used interchangeably; But, mental health and mental illness are not the same. Nor are they mutually exclusive either. As the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates, a person can experience poor mental health and have no mental illness diagnosis; Likewise, a person diagnosed with a mental illness can experience periods of well-being, physically, mentally, and socially (About Mental Health).

Like treating a physical illness might require medications, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and other biopsychosocial supports, treating a mental illness is a multifactored approach that includes treatment for the mental illness and supports mental health. With treatment, people can, and do, manage mental illnesses and develop robust strategies to support their mental health. The first step is to recognize a problem and be willing to accept help from people.


Mental Health | CDC.

About Mental Health.

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