The Difference Between Mental Health and Mental Illness

It’s been a long haul with the pandemic, but there is a silver lining amid all the disruption. Conversations that address the basic needs of humanity-D&I, stress, flexible work hours, for example, have fortunately come to the forefront. In my view, one such subject that is in dire need of attention is the need for sound mental health and resilience.

Sound mental health determines our ability to live happy, productive, and meaningful lives. Yet, it has remained a taboo subject for far too long. What does “normal” mental health versus mental illness look like? Many people don’t understand what we mean by mental health, nor do we know the causes of mental illness or disorders, leading to much confusion around the topic. People with mild mental health issues may function reasonably well, while others with more severe problems can be completely disabled and struggle tremendously in their day-to-day lives. Either way, we can’t tell the difference as the signs and behaviors are not always evident. Further, we put up a brave front, covering up our inner turmoil and hiding behind a mask. Nor have we developed a common and acceptable language to help each one communicate effectively and safely.