Mental health: a state of well-being

Updated August 2014

Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

A group of smiling young women, Lesotho
WHO/P. Virot

The positive dimension of mental health is stressed in WHO's definition of health as contained in its constitution: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

This fact file highlights the important aspects of mental health and disorders. The images include pictures drawn by children who participated in the WHO Global School Contest of Mental Health in 2001.

Read the 10 facts about mental health

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