Mental Health – Definition and Case Study

This assignment is going to explore about what mental health is and make a distinction between mental disorders and mental illnesses. A case study of a patient suffering with depression is going to be incorporated within the assignment. The assignment will also define what depression is and address the possible causes, symptoms, medication and therapies that could be used to change the mental health state of the patient. Changes in the mental health state of the individual will be explored showing the differences between a patient with depression and a person who does not suffer with depression.

Gibbs, (1988) reflective cycle

is going to be used together with Fleming, (1987) learning needs and styles models to reflect on own personal learning needs. SWOT analysis is going to be use in included reflecting on Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. In accordance with the Nursing and Midwifery Council

(NMC) code of conduct

, (2008) and Data Protection Act, (1998) confidentiality and anonymity will be maintained throughout the assignment.

In order to give a depth answers to the above question, it is necessary to briefly mention the importance of mental health and mental illness in our society. Mental health is defined as ‘a continuum of experience, from mental well being through to a severe and enduring mental illness ‘(Austin and Priest, 2005).Kakar, (1984) also define mental health as a label, which covers different perspectives and concerns, such as the absence of incapacitating symptoms, integration of psychological functioning, effective conduct of personal and social life, feelings of ethical and spiritual well-being. In (2007) the WHO define mental health as conceptualized as 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. In this positive sense, mental health is the foundation for well- being and effectuating for an individual and for a community. (DH 2001), defined mental health as ‘thinking, feeling and physical health and well-being‘. The world Health Organisation (WHO), (2001) defines health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Mental health problems are more common in people with a learning disability which is the authors chosen branch of work. It is important to have a good knowledge about what health is before defining what mental health is. The WHO uses a holistic approach when looking at health. The (2004) WHO report on “Promoting Mental Health” stated that “.mental

Health and mental illness are determined by multiple and interacting social, Psychological and biological factors, just as health and illness in general. Mental health implies fitness rather than freedom from illness” (WHO, 2004 p 13). Norman and Ryrie, (2009) are not in full agreement of WHO’S definitions of health and mental health. They suggest that, these definitions are little value. However they are in agreement with their 2007 definitions and suggest that it hold more promise. They suggest it relates more to their quadrant concept of ‘self’ and ‘community’. Norman and Ryrie are in the agreement with the WHO’S definition they believe it is slightly complex and they suggest that, the authors Keyes (2002) and Huppert (2005) use more simpler approach to defined positive  mental health and well-being. The use terms such as hedonic and eudaimonic.Hedonic means positive feelings and positive affect, which reflect subjective well-being and eudaimonic means positive functioning, which includes engagement, fulfilment and social well-being. Mental health is the capacity to live life to the full in ways that enables us to realise our own natural potentialities, and that unite us with rather than divide us from all other human beings who make up our world (Guntrip 1964).According to the Department of Health (1995), mental health consists of four key capacities: The ability to develop psychologically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, the ability to intiate, develop and sustain mutually satisfying personal relationships, the ability to become aware of others and to empathise with them and the ability to use psychological distress as a development process, so that it does not hinder or impair further development.



Schon, (1983) define reflection as a process of thinking with a purpose and focused strongly on the need to test out and challenge true beliefs by applying the scientific method through deductive reasoning and experimentation and also implied that emotions and feelings are part of reflective thinking. Reflection is an active persistent and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusion to which it tends Dewey (1933).Using Gibbs reflective Cycle, (1988) appendix 1 and Neil Fleming’s Vark system, (1987) I will reflect on my experiences on my practise ward and on my theory. By having the chance to completed Flemings Vark questionnaire and my result was multimodal. This showed that I could learn by reading and writing literature, learning using visual aids, aurally and using kinaesthetic methods. I intend to reflect on my communication skills, literacy skills IT skills using Gibbs cycle. Gibbs cycle is a six stage cycle which helps the reader to reflect on situations, analyse feelings and evaluate experiences, conclude situations and how a person would deal with experiences again if they rose.


Austin M.P and

Priest S.R

2005 Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica (Online) 112(no.2)

Norman Ian and Ryrie Iain 2009, the Art and Science of Mental Health Nursing, Second Edition, Open University Press


Andrews, G and Jenkins, R (Eds) 1999 Management of Mental Disorders