Book an appointment Feather-communication-phone

Blog Mental Health

What is mental health?

writtenByWritten by: Sydney Garrow
Sydney Garrow

Sydney Garrow

Sydney is a contributing health writer and editor who enjoys shedding light on health topics, making information available to anyone who wants it, and ending stigmas or lack of access to care and treatment.

Read more posts by this author.
reviewBy Reviewed by: Ken Cosby M.D.

Ken Cosby M.D.

Dr. Ken Cosby received his medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine (Washington, DC) and completed his research post-doc work at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health including the National Heart Lung Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute.

March 1, 2021 Read Time - 7 minutes

What’s the Definition of Mental Health?

Mental health is defined as the combination of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Mental health can affect anything from big life decisions, to our day-to-day lives. 

Your mental health will determine how you regulate feelings, act, and think, so it’s an incredibly important part of every person’s overall health!

Read to learn more about mental health and what you can do to take care of yours. 

  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

Talk to an Online Therapist PlushCare-App-Steps

Why is Mental Health Important?

Because your mental health affects the overall wellness of how you think, feel, and act, it’s really important, and a good idea to check in with yourself and make sure that you’re doing well mentally as well as physically. 

Although physical health is sometimes easier to understand and know the status of, your mental health is equally as important to your overall well-being, though it can be harder to gauge.

Asking yourself “What is mental health?” or “How is my mental health?” is the first step to understanding the importance of this significant part of your life. 

Keep in mind, it’s not just people who have diagnosed mental disorders who struggle with keeping their mental health in a good place. Anybody and everybody will experience dips in their mental wellbeing for a huge variety of reasons. 

Some external factors that could cause struggles with your mental health include: 

  • Increase in stress at work or in your personal life
  • Excess pressure that might cause anxiety
  • A serious loss of a loved one 
  • Struggles with physical wellness

These are just a few examples of hardships that can cause your mental wellbeing to decrease. 

Keep in mind, that just because you are struggling with your mental health, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a diagnosable mental illness, and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t get better. People of all kinds, and in all different walks of life struggle with their mental health for periods of time. 

If you do feel like your mental health struggles are unmanageable and constant, it’s a great idea to talk to a therapist and explore the options of prescribed medications if your psychiatrist or doctor sees fit. 

PlushCare offers online therapy appointments for affordable prices, and once you’ve talked to a therapist, he or she can help you find a treatment plan that suits your mental health goals. 

  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

Talk to an Online Therapist PlushCare-App-Steps

How Can You Improve Your Mental Health? 

Some examples of practices that can maintain or improve mental health include: 

  • Getting exercise. Exercising and staying active releases endorphins, which can help balance moods, and also keeps your physical health in check. 
  • Eat well. Just like all the other organs in your body, your brain needs the right nutrients to function properly. Having a diet that supports your physical health is also supporting your mental health. 
  • Talk about your feelings. Having a support system that is there to listen to you during the good and bad times is a great way to deal with troubles. Adding a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist as someone to talk to during hard times is just one more pillar of support. 
  • Give yourself breaks. Sometimes the stress and pressure of life can build up to seriously damage your mental health––treat yourself to mental health days and breaks when you feel overwhelmed. 
  • Limit your drinking. Alcohol and drugs alter our moods and brains, so it’s important to be sensible and drink in moderation, and make sure you’re not relying on alcohol or drugs to boost your mood or mental state temporarily. 
  • Do the things you love. Too often we get stuck moving in the fast lane, and forget to enjoy the things we love. If you enjoy nature, get outdoors. If you love cooking, host a dinner party. Sometimes we forget to treat ourselves and do the things that make us happy. 
  • Work on loving yourself. A small sentence, but not an easy feat. Whether it’s through self-reflection, therapy, or treating yourself from time to time, try to remind yourself how worthy you are of happiness. 

Keep in mind that these are simple practices to make sure your life is filled with the things that boost your mental health rather than break it down. If you, or someone you love, is dealing with a mental disorder, sometimes putting these into practice feels impossible, or may not be enough. 

With adequate support, you can learn to recognize mental health conditions and receive the right treatment, such as medications, counseling, or a combination of both. 

What is Mental Illness?

Mental illness is a very wide range of conditions that affect your mood, thinking, and behavior. 

Some common examples of mental illnesses include: 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Schizophrenia 
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Eating Disorders 
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Mental illnesses look different in different people, so sometimes it might be hard to tell if you’re struggling with a mental illness, or identifying it in those close to you. 

Read: High Functioning Depression

Seeking out treatment and discussing medication options with a healthcare professional is a great way to sort out any struggles or uncertainties you have about your mental health. 

Is Mental Illness Common? 

If you are struggling with mental health concerns, or a diagnosed mental illness, you are far from alone. 

The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 4 people will experience issues with mental or neurological disorders at some point in their life. Hundreds of millions of people currently deal with mental health disorders, and while there are many treatments available, a large portion of these people never seek out help. 

Knowing how common mental health issues are can help remove the unnecessary stigma, and make it easier for everyone to seek out the care and treatment they need. 

What Causes Mental Illness?

There’s no one single answer to this question––mental illnesses are caused by a variety of factors, some of which include: 

  • Genetics/family history
  • Trauma (especially in childhood) 
  • Use of drugs or alcohol 
  • Imbalances in brain chemistry 
  • Various struggles in life (high stress, isolation)
  • Physical illnesses, such as brain injuries 
  • Take your free mental health assessment.

    Your results will help determine which type of support you may benefit from the most.

  • Meet with a top doctor, get an official diagnosis and prescription treatment plan.

  • Sit back and have your prescription delivered to your door.

Get My Prescription Online PlushCare-App-Steps

Mental Health Treatment Online 

PlushCare offers online access to a variety of doctors and healthcare professionals that can help assess your mental health, and diagnose and treat mental health disorders.

If you’re in need of mental health support you can book an online appointment with one of our top primary care physicians or online therapists. Our doctors are all graduates from the top 50 U.S. medical schools and are highly trained to diagnose and treat mental health conditions online. 

If you aren’t sure if therapy or medication is right for you, we recommend talking to one of our primary care physicians to get an initial treatment plan. The doctor will recommend a plan that is custom to your needs whether that’s lifestyle changes, therapy, medication or a combination of these.

Get the mental health support you deserve and book an appointment here. It’s convenient and affordable. 

Read More About Mental Health


PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information. Mental Disorders. Accessed January 12, 2021. Mental Health. Accessed January 12, 2021. How to Look After Your Mental Health. Accessed January 12, 2021.

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

Our commitment to you.

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

  • right Tick Image

    Research from sources you can trust

  • right Tick Image

    Medical reviews by field experts

  • right Tick Image

    Frequent content updates

More to learn.

All There is to Know About Online Therapy

All There is to Know About Online Therapy

Online Therapy | How it Works and if it’s Right For You Online therapy is another example of how traditional…

Melissa Dowd (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist) 5 minutes
OCD Test

OCD Test

OCD Test Do you suspect that you may have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)? If you deal with repetitive thoughts and behaviors,…

Leah McCabe 5 minutes
Pornography and Depression

Pornography and Depression

Pornography and Depression  Is there a link between pornography and depression? Not a lot of research has been done on…

Melissa Dowd (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist) 10 minutes