What is the difference between mental health and mental illness?
Mental health concerns a person’s emotional and psychological wellbeing. Mental illness is a term that refers to specific disorders or issues that affect a person’s mental health.
Mental health addresses our overall emotional, psychological and social well being.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, mental health include:
- How we feel, think, and act
- How we handle stress
- How we relate to others
- How we make choices
Mental illness focuses on the disorders that affect how we think, feel, and act. They can impact how you live your day-to-day life, your relationships, and your mood. This includes:
- Alcohol and substance use disorders — e.g., Opioid Use Disorder
- Anxiety disorders — e.g., Social Anxiety Disorder
- Depression — e.g., Postpartum Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Eating disorders — e.g., Bulimia and Anorexia
- Personality disorders — e.g., Borderline Personality Disorder
- Mood disorders — e.g., Bipolar Disorder
- Psychotic disorders — e.g., Schizophrenia
- Trauma-related disorders — e.g., Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
This list and the examples are just samples of possible mental illnesses and mental health problems. You typically get diagnosed with a mental illness or condition by a psychiatrist or a psychologist.