The Mental Health branch of HOPE addresses the mental health-related needs and concerns of the W&M community with an emphasis on raising awareness and reducing stigma. To fulfill this mission, we have created a wide array of programming and presentations related to body image and eating disorders, stress reduction and positive psychology, neurodiversity and suicide prevention, and more. If you have any questions pertaining to mental health please feel free to ask us, and you can also request specific programming for your residence hall or organization.
What is mental health?
When many people think about mental health, they identify it as the opposite of mental illness, associating mental health with the lack of depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and so on. Yet, mental health is much more than just a lack of illness.
People with good emotional health understand their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They feel good about themselves and have good relationships. They can keep problems in perspective and deal with their emotions constructively. Mental health can be associated with positive characteristics that people have to varying degrees, making some people more mentally healthy than others. Some characteristics that can be included in defining a “mentally healthy” person are:
- The ability to enjoy life
- Resilience, or the ability to bounce back from adversity
- Self-actualization, or living up to your potential
As college students, we must realize that our mental health can be affected by many different forces – the amount of sleep we get, the amount and type of stress we have to deal with, how we relax, eat, and exercise, and what genetic factors affect us.