Skip navigation

Concepts of Mental and Social Wellbeing

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) first introduced the concept in 1948, many different definitions of mental wellbeing have been presented. The concept is pertinent to a wide range of disciplines, all of which have a slightly different take on it relating to underlying beliefs, attitudes and practices. Whilst mental health terminology is not yet used consistently, FPH uses the term 'mental health' to describe the field which encompasses mental illness/disorder, mental wellbeing and all other states of mental health.

Some common definitions in the health literature include:

"Mental 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."

Resilience - as in "being able to cope with the normal stress of life" is an important component of most definitions of mental wellbeing, with great relevance for the prevention of mental illness. Working productively and fruitfully is an important component from the point of view of economists, and in some studies is regarded as the primary component.

Become a Member

Become a Member

FPH is the professional home for public health in the UK and abroad. We support over 5,000 members across all career stages enabling them to drive the profession forward and achieve our vision of improving public health.

More details