Mental Health Counseling/Psychology

What does it mean to have a healthy mind? Mental health is, according to the World Health Organisation, more than just the absence of mental illness. It is a combination of a number of factors to do with wellbeing. Firstly it involves having a sense of self-worth (i.e. recognising one’s own potential as an individual). Secondly, it means having the ability to cope well with the normal stresses of life, such as social dilemmas, decision-making and day-to-day emotions. Finally, it involves being an active part of a community (i.e. having a job, contributing time and skills, or simply having a positive impact on others).

Mental health counseling has been in practice for a considerable time in various forms, and has often been a function of religious or other community organizations intent on supporting the overall health and prosperity of citizens. As human understanding of psychology and the consciousness itself has evolved over time, mental health counseling has become a more precise field, populated by certified and licensed professionals who are able to help their clients recover from trauma and create meaningful change within their lives. Counseling is sometimes mandated for individuals, couples, and families who are facing legal or other problems, especially in cases involving substance abuse, physical violence, or other immediate concerns. In some instances, however, mental health counseling is simply recommended to those who express a personal emotional or behavioral issue or who feel they might benefit from the perspective and advice of someone specially trained to mediate and assist with mental health.

Types of mental health problems

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) says there are two main types of mental health problems – one described as having ‘neurotic symptoms’, and the other described as having ‘psychotic symptoms’. While these categories can help health professionals with diagnosis and treatment, it’s worth noting that because some mental health problems have both neurotic and psychotic symptoms, distinguishing between the two is not always useful.