10.1 Mental health,mental illness and TBI   

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Introduction

To set the scene for working on mental health problems in traumatic brain injury it is useful to:

  • Understand what is meant by mental health

  • Understand what is meant by mental illness

  • Be aware of a person's abilities and see the areas in which mental health problems impact on a person

  • See the person in the content of their whole lifespan - what has come before? At what point are they in their life? What is yet to come?

  • Be aware of the process of rehabilitation that a person with traumatic brain injury will be part of.

 

Mental health

Mental health is sometimes defined as an absence of mental illness.

It is better to describe it as the person having particular ways of thinking or behaviour that help them to feel good and to maintain how they feel on a daily basis.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states: "Mental health is an integral and essential component of health."

The WHO constitution states: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." An important consequence of this definition is that mental health is described as more than the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.

Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. In this positive sense, mental health is the foundation for individual well-being and the effective functioning of a community.

Reference: World Health Organisation

 

Mental illness

Typically, we talk about mental health problems or mental illness, there is no good definition, and the concept of mental illness can be subjective and culture bound.

We define a person as having a particular mental illness if they have symptoms or behaviour that typically represents syndromes of behaviour that psychiatrists or psychologists may diagnose as a “mental illness”.

A mental illness can result in a disruption in a person's thinking, feeling, moods,  ability to relate to others, and behaviour. Mental illness can be defined by legislation, although each state and country will have slightly different legislation.

In this module we are defining mental illness as a person:

  • having particular symptoms or behaviour
  • that represents certain types of illnesses that psychiatrists or psychologists diagnose according to common diagnostic criteria.

 

 

Types of mental health problems after a traumatic brain injury

Types of mental health problems after a traumatic brain injury include:

a) Depression

b) Psychosis

c) Anxiety disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder

d) Personality change

Each of these can be diagnosed by a psychiatrist or psychologist.

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Click on the "Person" to display the person's abilities. Click again to return to the opening screen.

These are people's abilities. An ABI will impact on these abilities. A mental health problem will impact on these abilities.

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Click on "Birth" to click though the screens. Click on the "Individuals" to show ABI at different times in the life span.

The implications for the person and their life are very different depending on when the ABI occurs, and when the mental health problem occurs.

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Click on the Line to click through the screens.

 

Answer these questions:
Is mental health the absence of mental illness?
Is mental illness the absence of mental health?

Check your answers here


Is mental health the absence of mental illness?

Yes, this is a good definition of mental health
No
No, there are better definitions of mental health
Is mental illness the absence of mental health?
Yes
No

 

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