What is Mental Ill Health?

What is Mental Ill Health?

Mental Health Awareness Week is here again and this seems a good time to reflect on what mental ill health in the workplace can look like. The most common forms of mental ill health but not by any means the only, stem from stress, anxiety and depression but what do those terms mean?

A helpful definition of  comes from the World Health Organisation (WHO):

Mental health is a state of well-being in which the individual:

  • realises his or her own abilities can cope with the normal
  • stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is
  • able to make a contribution to his or her own community.

This definition then of; ‘mental wellbeing’, ‘mental ill health’ or ‘mental health problems’ offers only an insight into what band of issues, covering the ‘trivial’ concerns and fears, to the bleakest depression, as part of what we term ‘everyday life’.

Everyone reacts in a different way to the strains and stresses of contemporary living and it is commonplace to describe ourselves as ‘stressed’ ‘depressed’, or ‘apprehensive’ at times. For others, these emotional states can become more serious and make it challenging to continue with ‘everyday life’.

It is estimated that 1 in 4 of us suffer from some form of mental health issue i.e. harmful levels of stress, anxiety, depression.

The most common of which are stress and depression.

Stress and Mental Ill Health

It is generally agreed that we all need and to a certain level thrive, on pressure. Some stress can give us energy, which boosts performance which engenders confidence-building. However, stress that is prolonged or excessive can lead to problems and become harmful.

This can be due to a multitude of factors, maybe due to too much work, or equally, too little, inadequate job training, bad working relationships, close family or personal stress, as well as a host of other factors, which can lead to a variety of mental health concerns.

Stress can become an issue when someone feels they haven’t been given the resources to manage situations with the demands put on them. The symptoms of these could be emotional responses such as tetchiness, and crying as well as physical reactions like aches and pains, or hypertension (high blood pressure).

Making it difficult for someone to make decisions or accomplish tasks, leading to depression and absence from work.


Depression, or clinical depression, is often referred to as either mild, moderate or severe, with the symptoms including a ‘low’ mood or a lack of enthusiasm or energy, motivation can be altered whereby people may experience thoughts of worthlessness or, ‘life not being worth living’, and in extreme cases can lead to suicide.

If you believe that you have been affected by mental ill health and would like a second opinion, please contact a member of our team today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.