What Is Mental Health?

Mental health is a state of wellbeing.

According to the World Health Organisation, mental health is:

"a state of well-being in which every individual realises their potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to [their] community".

Mental health includes social, emotional and psychological wellbeing, and is not just the absence of illness, but also the ability to maintain relationships, cope with stress, contribute to the community and enjoy life.

Mental Illness

Mental illness can affect anyone.

Mental illness is a general term that refers to a group of illnesses that affect the way we think, feel and act. Mental illnesses are of different types and degrees of severity, some of the major types are depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar mood disorder.

In Australia, approximately one in five will experience some form of mental illness every year, and one in two will experience a mental health problem within some point of their lives. 

It’s estimated that the annual cost of mental illness in Australia is approximately $70 billion, which includes the costs from loss of productivity and participation in the workforce (National Mental Health Commission, 2017). 

The personal and financial cost of mental illness are too high to ignore. Prevention and early intervention, including engaging in activities that keep us mentally healthy, including engaging in activities that keep us mentally healthy, are the most effective way to improve our community health.

How do I Keep Mentally Healthy?

Keeping mentally healthy is just as important as staying physically healthy.

And the good news is there are things we can all do to promote our mental wellbeing and create stronger more resilient communities.

Being active, having a sense of belonging and having a purpose in life all contribute to happiness, good mental health and stronger communities.

The Act-Belong-Commit guidelines for positive mental health provide a simple approach you can adopt to become more mentally healthy:


Do something
Keep active in as many ways as you can - physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.


Do something with someone
Keep connected to friends and family; get involved in groups, join in local community activities.


Do something meaningful
Commit to a cause; become a volunteer; learn a new skill; or take up a challenge yourself.


Where to Get Help

There are many resources and organisations you can refer to for further information and support with your mental health. Helplines, websites, mental health organisations and government mental health information services provide a range of services.

Click here to learn more.