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Mental health

Abstract: Mental health according to the WHO standards

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Mental health

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Written by: Martin Winkler
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 23 Aug 2008.

What is mental health?


According to a recent description of the WHO (World Health Organisation) mental health is not only defined by deficits or problems, but refers to all psychological and social aspects of wellbeing:

"Mental Health is an essential and integral part of health as a whole, as stated in the definition of health in the Constitution of the World Health Organization. Just as health is not merely the absence of disease, so Mental Health is not simply the absence of mental disorder or illness, but also includes a positive state of mental well being."


This includes aspects of:

  • Prevention and support of psychoactive substance abuse (tobacco, alcohol or other psychoactive substances)
  • Support on interventions on health promotion, health care and quality of life. This should include escpecially vulnerable and high risk groups like refugees, victims of war or other forms or violence, chronic mentally ill persons or patients with other chronic disease like HIV/AIDS
  • (RE-)Integration of people with mental diseases or problems into society. Access to appropriate therapy and support, education and work.
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