Understanding mental health and well-being
Produced in partnership with Richard Martin of Byrne Dean
Understanding mental health and well-being

The following In-house Advisor practice note Produced in partnership with Richard Martin of Byrne Dean provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Understanding mental health and well-being
  • The spectrum of mental health
  • Understanding the effects of mental illness
  • The language
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

This Practice Note will explore what we mean by mental health and well-being, as well as the meaning of some of the terms commonly (mis)used around the subject including: stress, anxiety and depression. Positive well-being cannot be promoted without an understanding of the common issues that arise in the workplace. The aim of this Practice Note is to help you understand the impact that different mental illnesses have on people so that you can be aware of problems that might develop and are better placed to implement an effective well-being strategy.

The spectrum of mental health

When we talk about our physical health, we are very used to thinking in terms of positive health on one side of a spectrum where everything is functioning optimally and we are fit and healthy, and grave illness of whatever kind on the other, with a whole range of milder symptoms and conditions or illnesses in between. Equally, what the positive side of the spectrum will look like will be different for everyone. An Olympic athlete will have a very different expectation of optimised physical health and ability to the average middle aged house lawyer, for example.

We can think of mental health (or mental well-being as these terms are being used largely interchangeably for these purposes) in the same way. On one side would be optimised mental health where we

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