There are many schools of thought on mental health. So, at the Canadian Mental Health Association, we waded into everything from western psychology to Indigenous knowledge, and here is what we found: when we look at various descriptions of mental health, the overlaps are striking.
We found that, while feeling well means different things to different people, some things might actually apply to all of us: in order to thrive, we all need a good sense of self, and we all need purpose, contribution, hope, resilience and belonging.
We’ve condensed that knowledge into an informal list that you can use to check your own mental health. (You can find the sources we consulted below). It’s not a scientific tool, or a way to diagnose yourself. It’s just one way to check in with yourself about your mental health, and maybe guide you on how to support and improve it.
Read each statement, and consider whether you “Agree” or “Disagree” with it.
Your sense of self
I feel confident about my own opinions, even if they’re different from what other people think or believe.
I think people respect me, but I can disagree with others and still feel ok about myself.
I feel that I am the expert on my own life.
I consider myself to be a good person.
I deserve to feel well.
Your purpose and sense of meaning
I feel like I’m reaching my potential.
I feel I am growing as a person.
I challenge myself and my thoughts about the world
I have a sense of purpose and meaning in my life.
It is a better world with me in it.
I am good at things that matter to me.
I get something out of the things I do.
I get along with others, and I feel good about my personal relationships and social interactions.
I feel like I am part of something bigger than myself.
I feel like I belong.
I have people in my life to support me.
What I do matters a lot to others
I feel useful and productive
I make the world a better place in my own way
I am making a difference
Hope and enjoyment
I am optimistic about my future.
I feel good about myself
I like and accept myself.
I usually expect good things will happen.
I enjoy life.
Things are hard sometimes, but I think I deal pretty well.
I know I can’t control everything, but I take action where I can.