The conundrum of mental health- Where well-being and mental illness meet


The past couple decades, evidence has shown that children’s and adolescents’ well-being declines and their mental health problems increase. Some people conflate mental health with well-being, whilst others consider mental health to be the absence of mental illness. Mental health should be viewed through a holistic approach that puts forward a dual-continuum model that encompasses positive and negative mental health. In this model, well-being is the positive aspects of mental health, whereas mental illnesses are the negative indicators of mental health. The crucial question is how should we deal with children’s and adolescents’ mental health problems? There are two main approaches to this issue. The first approach is through the lens of the biomedical model, where mental health is discussed in terms of biological causes. Meanwhile, the second approach is through the biopsychosocial model that recognises both biological and psychosocial influences on mental health.

Watch the short lecture below explaining how mental health and mental illness meet

The purpose of this lecture is to give a helicopter view of what mental health means, what are its subcomponent psychological processes, and how can we deal with mental health problems. 

Video Resource

Activity questions

  • What constitutes well-being and what comprises mental illness? How are these connected?
  • Why should we focus more on children and adolescent populations?
  • How is mental health usually defined and how should it be accurately defined?
  • Which model of mental health do you think that is more appropriate?
  • Where would you search to find more information for these concepts?

Reflective questions

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Task 1

What are the key arguments, concepts, points contained within it?

Task 2

What are you struggling to understand?

What could you do to improve your understanding of these concepts/terminology etc.?

Task 3

What further questions has this resource raised for you?

What else are you keen to discover about this topic and how could you go about learning more?

Can you make any links between this topic and your prior knowledge or school studies?

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