Why focus on positive mental health ?

The Public Health Agency of Canada  defines mental health as a positive concept. It is "the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think, act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity". In other words, positive mental health refers to wellbeing.

Thus, mental health does not refer simply to the absence of a mental illness. A person can live with a mental illness while also presenting positive mental health. One does not exclude the other. This is a more global view of mental health in which mental illness and positive mental health, although interrelated, are two distinct concepts (Keyes, 2002). This is why it is important to document the impacts of COVID-19 on both positive mental health and mental illness.