Mental health is interwoven with physical health. Behaviours relating to health exist over what is called the health-illness spectrum. People who are exceptionally healthy are placed at the high-level wellness end of the spectrum whereas severely ill people are placed at the opposite end. Most of us, however, function somewhere between these extremes.
As we meet with the stresses of life, our abilities to cope are repeatedly challenged, and we strive to adjust in effective ways. Mental health is the ability to cope with and adjust to the recurrent stresses of living in an acceptable way.
Mentally healthy people are able to cope well. They successfully carry out the activities of daily living, they are able to adapt to change and to solve problems effectively, they set goals and pursue them, and they enjoy life. They are self-aware, directed, and responsible for their actions.
However, not everyone can cope effectively with the stresses of living. Internal difficulties or external circumstances may interfere with our ability to cope well and live a happy and fulfilling life. In such a case, the counseling process may help the individual to regain strength and to mobilize inner resources and external support systems. Ultimately, the individual will be able to deal with obstacles in life more effectively and to experience joy.