The World Health Organization’s definition of “mental health” is too closely identified with having only “positive” feelings, along with “working productively” and having “mastery” over oneself and one’s environment, states a European psychiatric team in World Psychiatry. They attempt to provide a new definition of what it means for a human to be mentally healthy.
“(S)uch a perspective of mental health, influenced by hedonic and eudaimonic traditions, which champion positive emotions and excellence in functioning, respectively, risks excluding most adolescents, many of whom are somewhat shy, those who fight against perceived injustice and inequalities or are discouraged from doing so after years of useless efforts, as well as migrants and minorities experiencing rejection and discrimination.”
The authors then attempt to provide a definition of mental health “aimed to overcome perspectives based on ideal norms or hedonic and eudaimonic theoretical traditions, in favor of an inclusive approach, as free as possible of restrictive and culture-bound statements, and as close as possible to human life experience, which is sometimes joyful, and at other times sad or disgusting or frightening; sometimes satisfactory, and at other times challenging or unsatisfactory.”
Galderisi, Silvana, Andreas Heinz, Marianne Kastrup, Julian Beezhold, and Norman Sartorius. “Toward a New Definition of Mental Health.” World Psychiatry 14, no. 2 (June 1, 2015): 231–33. doi:10.1002/wps.20231. (Full text)