Mental health is more than just the absence of mental illness. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health 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” (Sturgeon, 2006). Positive mental health is associated with good physical health, engaging in fewer risky behaviors, and more socially positive behaviors (Herrman, Saxena, & Moodie, 2005) whereas poor mental health is associated with poor physical health, engaging in more risky behaviors, problems with family and peer relationships, and poor school performance (Perou et al., 2013).
Sturgeon, S. (2006). Promoting mental health as an essential aspect of health promotion. Health Promotion International, 21(suppl 1), 36-41.
Herrman, H., Saxena, S., & Moodie, R. (2005). Promoting mental health: concepts, emerging evidence, practice: a report of the World Health Organization, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in collaboration with the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation and the University of Melbourne. World Health Organization..
Huang, L. N. (2013). Mental Health Surveillance Among Children—United States, 2005–2011. MMWR: Surveillance Summaries, 62(2), 1-35.