Mental wellbeing definitions

What is mental wellbeing?

Mental wellbeing is a phrase that we hear used all the time, but what exactly does it mean?

Mental wellbeing describes your mental state, how you’re feeling and the emotional resilience that helps you to cope with the ups and downs of everyday life. Like physical wellbeing, our mental wellbeing is dynamic: it can change from day-to-day and over time.

If you are experiencing good mental wellbeing you will be able to:

  • feel and express a range of emotions
  • engage with other people and build positive relationships
  • feel engaged with the world around you
  • live and study productively
  • cope with the stresses of everyday life
  • adapt and manage in times of uncertainty

What might affect my mental wellbeing?

From time to time, we all experience periods of low mental wellbeing. We might feel upset, stressed, or unable to cope with a situation.

Common issues that might cause low mental wellbeing include:

  • worrying about money
  • worrying about your studies or having other difficulties at university
  • experiencing a bereavement
  • feeling lonely
  • having problems in a relationship or breaking up with someone close to you
  • experiencing sexual violence

It’s important to remember that everyone is different. What might affect your mental wellbeing might not affect another person in the same way.

Top tips for improving your mental wellbeing

If you’re experiencing low mental wellbeing, the Moodzone on the NHS website contains lots of helpful information to help improve your mental wellbeing, including five steps to mental wellbeing, which could help you to feel happier and more positive.

Read our advice on mindfulness

What's the connection between mental wellbeing and mental health problems?

Short periods of low mental wellbeing, such as occasionally feeling low, stressed or anxious are a normal part of everyday life. However, if these feelings persist or if they start to have an impact on your ability to enjoy life and engage with people around you, it’s time to seek help.

If you experience low mental wellbeing over a long period of time, you are more likely to develop a mental health problem. There are lots of different types of mental health problem. Common problems can include depression, anxiety, phobias and eating disorders.

If you have an existing mental health problem, you could be more likely experience periods of low mental wellbeing, although you may also have periods of good mental wellbeing.

If you’re worried that you might have a mental health problem and want more information about help and support, visit our pages about mental health.

Where can I get advice and support at Imperial?

There are range of different people you can talk to if you are feeling low.

If you feel comfortable doing so, you might want to talk to someone in your academic department, like your Personal or Senior Tutor.  They will be able to give you information about further support at the College and might be able to make some practical arrangements that will help you manage your studies.

The Chaplains at the Chaplaincy Multi-Faith Centre are available to talk to about things that are on your mind and in your heart. The team at the Chaplaincy welcome students of all faiths and none, although you can arrange to meet with a Chaplain of a specific tradition if you prefer.

If your feelings of low mental wellbeing persist for more than a couple of weeks, or impact on your ability to enjoy life, you should arrange an appointment at the Imperial College Health Centre or your doctor.  You could also make a self-referral to the Student Counselling and Mental Health Advice Service, who provide confidential, non-judgemental counselling support.