Recently, we have seen an increasing media focus on issues collectively described as “mental health problems”.
The term is now commonly used to describe such diverse situations as having “a few bad days”, the experience of grief, and severe mental illness such as schizophrenia.
These are such very different experiences that it makes no more sense to categorise them together under the umbrella term than it would to collectively refer to such different conditions as tiredness, a broken ankle, and terminal cancer as “physical health problems”.
For a number of reasons, perhaps in part including the vagueness of the concept itself, there has been an increase in people framing their own understandable emotional responses to difficult situations as mental illness. This is almost always counterproductive, even for very intense responses such as grief. Thankfully, most of us experience grief a good deal less frequently than we encounter “a few bad days”, although…