Human Resources Division

What is Mental Health or Mental Illness?

Mental Health is a state of wellbeing in which the individual:

  • is able to realise 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.

A mental illness is a health problem that significantly affects how a person feels, thinks, behaves, and interacts with other people. It is diagnosed according to standardised criteria and can be successfully managed with treatment.

A mental health problem also interferes with how a person thinks, feels, and behaves, but to a lesser extent than a mental illness. Mental health problems are less severe than mental illnesses, but may develop into a mental illness if they are not effectively dealt with. (Dept of Health and Ageing).

Mental Health Facts: prevalence, treatment, experience

  • One in five Australians experience a mental illness at some stage in their lives, with many experiencing more than one mental illness at one time.
  • Mental Illness is treatable. Most people fully recover from a mental illness, especially if they receive help early. Some people experience significant disability as a result of an ongoing mental illness, whilst many others live full and productive lives.
  • Many people experiencing mental illness are in stable and successful employment. Mental illness says nothing about a person's capabilities or future. While some people may require support from their workplace when unwell, many will not require any additional support.
  • Mental illness is not synonymous with violence. Only a small number of people with a mental illness are violent and this tends to coincide with having an untreated psychotic episode.

Types of Mental Illnesses


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Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

8th March 2013