Check your mental health
The Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental
Health Meter helps you reflect on your mental wellness.
Visit cmha.ca to take the quiz.
GOOD MENTAL HEALTH
The CMHA says good mental health
has a few characteristics, including your
• Enjoy life and face challenges.
• Bounce back and move on from
stress, disruption and change.
• Cope with challenges and stress and
maintain your emotional well-being in
• Balance time for you, family, friends
• Notice when priorities are out of
balance and make changes.
• Flex your priorities and expectations.
• Go with the flow of life and be patient
• Be optimistic and feel confident that
good things can, do and will happen.
The World Health Organization defines
Defining mental illness
mental health as “a state of well-being
in which every individual realizes his
or her own potential, can cope with
the normal stresses of life, can work
productively and fruitfully, and is able
to make a contribution to her or his
The Canadian Mental Health
Association (CMHA) puts it this
way: good mental health is “striking
balance in all aspects of one’s life:
social, physical, spiritual, economic and
It’s normal to experience highs and lows
in everyday life. Mental illness, however,
involves more than having a bad day.
In Canada, one in five adults will
experience a mental illness. Mental
illness is a medical condition that
impairs your ability to think, feel and
maintain healthy relationships. Mental
illness includes hundreds of disorders,
including mood disorders such as
major depression, bipolar disorder,
schizophrenia, anxiety and eating
They share common characteristics,
such as changes in mood and behaviour,
thinking to the point of distress and
having an impaired ability to function.
Mental illness can range from single,
short-lived episodes to chronic disorders.
It affects people of all ages; however, 70
per cent of adults with mental illness
experience the first signs before age 18.
People living with mental illness can
still experience moderate to good mental
Risks to mental health
Many things can erode your mental
health. Some can be controlled, while
others are influenced by things beyond
our control such as our ethnicity, genetics
and early experiences.
Our mental health is also shaped by
epigenetics—the genes we get from our
parents and where and how we live—
which work together to determine how
Some of these things include:
• Poor physical health
• A sedentary lifestyle
• A lack of money to buy a variety,
quality or quantity of healthy food
• Eating unhealthy food
• Toxic (ongoing) stress
• Your ability to cope with adversity
• A lack of meaningful connection with
• Drug and alcohol abuse and addiction
• Behavioural abuse and addiction
(for example, gambling, sex and
• Poverty and homelessness.
Mindfulness is one of many tools,
treatments, therapies and medications
to create balance and treat mental
It’s a state of mind. You’re relaxed
and aware of your thoughts, emotions,
body and what’s around you. You’re
calm, open to experiences and focused
on being present.
Being mindful can also help you:
• Reduce stress and some symptoms
• Deal with stress and emotional
• Improve memory and focus
• Be satisfied with relationships
• Sleep better.