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Mental Health Questions…. Answered!

by Emily Cline

Let me just start off by saying, Happy Mental Health Awareness month!

Honestly, there are a lot of things that I didn’t know about mental health before starting my job at MHAET. If you’re like me, some of the questions I had seemed too simple to ask. It might seem cliché, but I’m here to tell you that no question is a bad question. Everyone deserves the right to know about mental health because of how important it is in all of our lives, whether we know it or not! Here are some answers to commonly asked questions:

What is mental health?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes 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 community.”

Simply put, mental health is the health of the mind. It is made up of three key elements: our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions. There is never a time where we are not experiencing at least one of those three things. Basically, our mind is always on the go, so keeping ourselves mentally healthy is crucial to overall life satisfaction!

Do I have mental health?

Yes! Just like we all have physical health, we ALL have mental health. We can easily compare this to physical health. We have been trained to identify behaviors, feelings, illnesses, and actions that deem someone healthy or unhealthy. Some people have really great mental health, while others might be struggling which greatly affects their everyday life.

Does everyone experience mental health the same way?

No! No one experiences mental health in the same way. We are all unique, with unique minds, bodies, and experiences shaping us to be who we are. Even someone with the same diagnosis will not experience it the same way as others with the same diagnosis. With that being said, there are common signs and symptoms that we see reoccurring within those diagnosis’. Mental illness, much like having mental health, does not discriminate based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.

What affects my mental health?

Easy answer, everything. Hard answer, everything. There are a lot of things that can affect our mental health both in positive and negative ways. Relationships, mental illness, stigma, self-esteem, and physical health are some of the biggest!

What is Mental Health Awareness month?

Mental Health Awareness month is celebrated in May, starting back in 1949. This time is dedicated to advocacy and helping others realize the importance of mental health! Although not everyone will develop a mental illness (statistically 1 in 5 will), it does not mean that everyone goes through life without hardship or struggle. Mental health is something to be monitored, discussed, and admired! Mental Health Awareness month puts an emphasis on the necessity for mental health education for all.

Do I have to have a mental illness to celebrate or advocate for mental health? What if I have never had a mental illness?

Mental health is made up of so much more than just mental illness. Anyone can advocate for mental health because EVERYONE experiences it! The DSM-V, the listing of all mental disorders, runs 157 disorders long. With the number so high, the chances you know and love someone with a mental illness are SO likely!


Hi! My name is Emily Cline and I am from Christiansburg, Virginia. I recently graduated from Roanoke College with a Bachelor of Arts in both Public Health Studies and Sociology. I hold both my ZUMBA license and my Group Fitness Instructor certification through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and love the combination they provide in strengthening both mental and physical health! Mental health education is important to me because of the impact it has on every aspect of our lives. Without truly understanding and caring for ourselves, we will never have the opportunity to live this beautiful life to the fullest!

The Mental Health Association offers all services to eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin or disability.