“The Dangerous Ideal of Mental Health”


“Today… mental health is increasingly understood as a positive state: as something to aspire to. Led by the new academic field of positive psychology and by popular trends like the mindfulness movement, we are coming to see mental health as an ideal that we can work to achieve. As you might go to the gym or change your diet to get a healthy body, people now will meditate or practice mindfulness or write gratitudes, with the goal of attaining a healthy mind,” writes Simon Keller, a professor of Philosophy at Victoria University of Wellington. “This new positive conception of mental health should be treated with suspicion. Beyond our understanding of mental illnesses and other negative mental conditions, we do not have much of a clue about what mental health is.”

Read more at: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-01-opinion-dangerous-ideal-mental-health.html#jCp


  1. A question I have that the writer didn’t address is: if they don’t know what mental health is how can they know what constitutes “mental illness”? If they don’t even know what the unbroken model looks like, how can they presume to fix what may or may not be broken?

    If a space alien arrived in a household or small hospital ward where everyone had pneumonia, he/she/it might think (due to communication problems) that it was normal and healthy for humans to wheeze and cough continually. Imagine if that alien decided the pneumonia virus had a symbiotic relationship with its human hosts, then went out to infect the “unhealthy” humans with pneumonia. All with the best intentions of course.

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