Meaning and Definitions of Mental Health and Hygiene

Mental health of a man is meant has mental condition. As physical health of a man is meant by the proper maintenance and functioning of all his

Meaning and Definition of Mental Health

Mental health of a man is meant has mental condition. As physical health of a man is meant by the proper maintenance and functioning of all his external and internal body organs, in the same way, his mental health is meant the proper maintenance and functioning of his mind. In this context, it is mentionable that physiologists can observe the internal and external body organs, including the structure of the brain, with the help of appliances and can ascertain any type of defects in them.

Meaning and Definitions of Mental Health and Hygiene

However, the psychologists have not been able to observe and understand the mind and its activity directly, as yet. They look for any defect occurring in the mind from the changes that occur in the normal behaviour of an individual, and from this view, they consider an individual mentally healthy who behaves properly in a balance manner under all circumstances.

Mental health of the learner is very important for efficient learning and proper development of personality. A child is born in a home where he remains in the constant company of his mother in the formative years of his infancy. Traditionally, it is said that a mother is equal to hundred teachers. The impressions and experiences which a child has in these formative years leave permanent and indelible impressions on his mind.

1. According to Ladell, "Mental health means the ability to make adequate adjustments to the environment on the plane of reality."

2. According to Headfield, "In general we may say that mental health is the full harmonious functioning of the whole personality."

3. According to Kuppuswami, "Mental health means the ability to balance feelings, desires, ambitions and ideals to one's daily life. It means the ability to face and accept the reality of life."

We should define mental health in the following form, "By mental health is meant the ability of man to limit his feelings. desires, aspirations and ideals on the real surface, to adjust himself according to his environment and to adjust his environment according to himself."

From the point of view of psychoanalysis, the early childhood experiences are very important for the future development of personality. The parents, of course, since they control children during infancy, are in the most strategic position to inculcate positive habits in their children. The first important requisite condition is affection and love of parents and other members of the family. The infant should feel secure and loved in his home. Parents should meet the legitimate needs of their child. Proper and conductive environment should be provided in early childhood. Pleasant and satisfaction giving experiences should be provided for the harmonious development of the personality of the child. The parents should keep the following things into consideration:

  1. Providing proper affection and love to the child.
  2. Provide conductive environment in home.
  3. Do not criticize the child.
  4. Do not compare the child with other children.
  5. Do not reject or overprotect the child.
  6. Do not quarrel in presence of the child.
  7. Do not be over anxious about the future of the child.
  8. Try to be democratic in your dealings.
  9. Meet the legitimate needs of you child.
  10. Provide guidance where necessary.
  11. Build self-confidence in the child.

We are aware that every man has his natural and social environment in which he has to live. According to the psychologists the man who is able to adapt himself according to his natural and social environment, is mentally healthy. Psychologists use the term 'adjustment' for the adaptation by an individual according to his natural and social environment.

Mental Health in School

The school assumes great responsibility in the process of harmonious development of personality. Children spend six to seven hours in school. Schools are in a position to help in the development of children's potentialities by catering to their needs. We will mention, in brief, the various measures which can be taken in schools for the proper development of physical, mental and spiritual abilities of children.

1. School environment:- School environment plays an important role in the development of positive attitudes. The school environment should be free from caste, creed or religious feelings. It should provide feelings of security in each and every student irrespective of their religion or socio-economic conditions. It should provide conducive environment for learning free from fear, tension and frustration.

2. Democratic environment:- School as an institution should function on democratic lines. Students' representation should be made on various committees so that students identify themselves with the institution. School problems should be discussed with teachers are students and decision should be taken by taking students into confidence.

3. Provision for curricular activities:- The school should organize a number of curricular activities suiting to the needs of individual students to release their pent up emotional feelings. The school may organize regular games, discussions, debates, scouting, guided reading, dramas, educational exhibitions and well-magazines etc.

4. Teacher's role:- Teacher must have the knowledge of fund a mental principles of human behaviour to tackle the problems of Ins students. He must be emotionally stable and should have positive attitude towards teaching. He must take interest in students and their welfare. His behaviouir with students should be of friend, philosopher and guide. He should not show partiality or favour to any student. He should try to develop a philosophy of life in his students. He should create confidence in his students to face the realities of life.

Students should not be criticized unnecessarily and no sarcastic remarks should be passed against any student. Teacher can play an important role in developing cooperation, team spirit and group participation in his students. Conducive social climate should be created in the class and the school.

5. Freedom of expression:- Children should be provided an opportunity in the class to express their views freely on problems.

6. Variety of interests:- Teacher should try to develop a variety of interests in his students such as games, reading and hobbies of different types which may help in the development of sound attitudes. Teacher should appreciate and encourage worthwhile activities of his students.

7. Reading for mental health:- Teacher should select books which are appropriate to specified age levels and students be advised to read those books.

8. Classes in human relations:- The school should organize classes in human relations. Daily life problems should be discussed. The importance of "how to live" should be emphasized. Students should also be invited to discuss freely their problems.

9. Provision for sex and moral education:- Most of the problems of adole scents are concerned with sex and moral conflicts which cause mental disturbances. It will be of great use if sex and moral education are made in integral part of regular curriculum.

10. Art and craft:- Writing for understanding and release of emotional tensions can also be used in mental hygiene programme.

11. Guidance:- School should organize guidance services for the benefit of students. Guidance is of three types; personal, educational and vocational.

Mental Health and Physical Health

Man is a psycho-physical organism, his mental health and physical health depend on each other. We have experienced that any defect in any body organs creates a storm in the mind, we become restless and some changes occur in our behaviour. This is also our experience that the restlessness in our mind influences the body activities. According to physiologists, this effect is due to the change in the functioning of the nervous system and ductless glands, the change that occurs basically due to the restlessness of the mind.

We all have experienced that defects in the body also give rise to defects in the mind and defects in the mind give rise to defects in the body. The persons who are happy by the mind possess physical health and the persons who are physically healthy also live mentally healthy. It is evident that physical and mental health depend on each other, they have positive correlation.

Mental Health and Adjustment

Mental health of a man and his ability of adjustment also depend on each other. A man who is mentally healthy accepts the reality of his environment and adapts himself accordingly, with it. Besides, he becomes self-confident, controls his environment when needed and thus, makes progress.

On the other hand, a man who adapts himself with his environment, that is he adjusts with it, he remaisn mentally balanced in the same measure and lives a happy life. The truth remains that mental health and adjustment are like two sides of the same coin. Psychologists look at mental health in the form of ability of good adjustment.

Mental Health and Education

Mental health and education are closely related with each other. For any type of education, sound mental health is the first condition. If children are not in sound mental health, they cannot concentrate in learning and retain the knowledge received in the classroom. Learning is dependent on sound mental health. Healthy children have a desire to acquire more and more information and skills that will give them better control over their environment. Recent research studies have proved that learning is not the activity of single function but is bound up with total personality of the learner. Mental health is as essential to the learning process as intelligence. Mental health is an inseparable part of education.

Mental Health of the Teacher

'Teachers' mental health plays an important role in the teaching-learning process. If the teacher is not in sound mental health, he can do incalculable harm to the nation in terms of poor guidance to the students. He cannot do justice to his job. His maladjustment will not only adversely affect his personality but will produce maladjustment in children put under his charge.

In modern times, with the rapid developments in all walks of life, problems have also multiplied in that proportion. In ancient India, when education was confined to privileged communities, teaching was entrusted to great scholars and involved no problem. In ancient India, when education was confined to privileged communities, teaching was entrusted to great scholars and involved no problem.

Advantages of Teaching Profession

1. Teaching is clean work:- Teaching as a profession in clean and free from corrupt practices in comparison to other professions.

2. Contact with the youth:- Teacher remains in contact with the youth throughout his life. This interaction with the youth and their constant company keeps the teacher mentally alive and physically alert.

3. Variety of work:- Teaching involves a wide range of activities! physical, mental, social and emotional. Variation in activities eliminates boredom and releases tension.

4. Income is steady and assured:- Teaching provides steady and assured income after a month.

5. Opportunity to meet professional workers:- Teaching provides opportunities to meet professional workers. Teachers can discuss their academic problems and devise means to solve them. They can also plan for their professional growth and professional achievement throughout their teaching career.

6. Personal satisfaction:- Teaching gives personal satisfaction to the teacher. Teacher feels satisfied after teaching a class provided that he is a devoted teacher. He feels that he is doing something for the nation.

7. Keep the teacher abreast of the time:- The greatest advantage of teaching is that it provides an opportunity to the teacher to move with the time. The teacher remains in touch with recent researches in his field of specialization.

Programmes to Improve Teachers' Mental Health

We have listed various factors in school and outside the school which affect the mental health of the teacher. We will see how we can eliminate those factors and help the teacher to improve and maintain his mental health.

1. Improving teacher-teacher relations:- The success of the school depends upon the willingness, cooperation and the ability of its members to work together. The school should provide better environment for creating goodwill among the members of the teaching staff. Frequent meetings should be held to discuss the problems and to remove the misunderstanding created among members of staff. Teachers' club should be established in every institution to bring the teachers close to each other. Educational tours and excursion should be arranged to develop necessary skills to work with other teachers successfully.

2. Improving teacher-principal relations:- There is a tendency to blame each other in our school system. The administrator blames the teachers for any failure in school functioning and teachers blame the administrator for his authoritarian attitude and partial treatment. The principal works as a leader of the group and much of the success of school depends on his quality of leadership and his personality. The principal can do the following things to improve the relations in school personnels:

  1. Keep routines to a minimum: Unnecessary restrictions should not be imposed on teachers because they create tension in the minds of the teachers,
  2. Listening:- The principal should listen to the problems of teacher in free and frank environment.
  3. Use democratic administration:- The principal should take major decision by holding discussions with the members of staff. He should not impose his decision on the staff in an authoritarian way. If there is misunderstanding between the principal and staff, it should be discussed and clarified by mutual discussion.
  4. Impartiality:- The principal should remain impartial. He should not do favour to any member on the basis of caste and creed.
  5. Helping nature:- The principal can discuss school problems with The staff in teachers' club meeting. He should respect all teachers. The Principal can support the teachers when they need his help. He should not form cliques of teachers on the policy of "divine and rule". He should not create pets because other teachers will resent this attitude.
  6. Give criticism in private:- The principal, if he has to correct any teacher regarding his method of teaching or behaviour, should call the teacher in private. No teacher should be criticized before the students and his colleagues.
  7. Be flexible:- The principal should not be rigid and traditional in this thinking and ways of dealing with teachers' problems. He should change his strategy with the time. He should evaluate his own role as an administrator. He should set up an example.
  8. Plan in advance:- Everything should be planned in the beginning of the academic year and should be communicated to teachers in advance for execution. He should work as a true leader of the team. Team spirit should be encouraged.

3. Professional growth:- The school should arrange for in-service programmes for teachers to refresh their knowledge of matter and method. of teaching. The principal should make arrangement of good library. facility and teaching material. He should encourage his colleagues to experiment with innovative ideas in teaching methods. He should work as a friend and guide to his colleagues.

4. Seminars, workshops and conferences:- Teachers from different schools should be invited to discuss problems of education in seminars and workshops. These activities provide opportunity of knowing the points of view of other workers in the field through mutual discussion. They keep the teachers abreast with new trends and technology in the field of education.

5. Service security:- Some rules and regulations should be formed to check the exploitation of teacher community by private managements who terminate the services of teachers on account of their personal whims. The teacher should feel secure of his service. Payment of salaries should be made regular.

6. Teacher-community relation:- The unusual criticism of teachers is because there is a wide gap between the teacher and the community. A close relationship should be established between teachers and the community. The following steps can be taken to strengthen teacher-community relationship:

  1. Community service:- The school should adopt local community for improving sanitary conditions, roads, and pure water. If the students under the guidance of teachers go to local villages and do some useful work for the improvement of the villages, then a close rapport will be established between school-community which will enhance the prestige and importance of the teacher.
  2. Use criticism:- The criticism given by the society should be used by teachers in a constructive way to improve upon their existing conditions.

Meaning of Mental Hygiene

Mental hygiene is a science which deals with the process of attaining mental health and prevent mental illness. It is mainly concerned with mental phenomena. The process of mental hygiene is a life long process beginning from the time of birth and continuing till the death of the individual. Mental hygiene and mental health may be differentiated as means and ends, mental hygiene is a means to make people conscious of mental health. It provides with means and measures to achieve mental health.

Goals of Mental Hygiene

Mental hygiene has four important goals which are as follows:

1. Realization of potentialities:- The main objective of mental hygiene is to provide an opportunity to the individual to develop his potentialities to the maximum. The subject matter of mental hygiene includes entire behaviour problems.

2. Happiness:- The second goal is to provide means and measures to develop positive attitudes towards life in the present context of developing socio-economic aspects of the country which are fraught with a number of problems disturbing the mental balance of the individual. It attempts to make individuals healthy and happy for efficient life.

3. Harmonious existence:- Mental hygiene aims at the harmonious development of physical, mental and spiritual capacities of the individual so that he may adjust properly in his social environment.

4. An effective existence:- It means that the individual is able to use his abilities effectively. He may be able to adjust effectively in the society.

Functions of Mental Hygiene

  1. Training of mental health personnel who can understand people's psychological problems and can help them to meet their needs.
  2. Development of preventive and curative programmes in the home, school and community.
  3. To preserve the mental health of those who are in sound mental health and to make the general population conscious about mental health.

Criteria of Mentally Healthy Person

1. Adaptability and resilient mind:- The individual who is adaptable to the changing conditions of his environment, receptive and not rigid in his behaviour, can be said mentally healthy.

2. Socially adaptable:- A mentally healthy person is socially awakened. He participates in social activities and his personality functions properly under strain and stress of emotional disturbances.

3. Emotionally satisfied:- The emotions of mentally healthy persons are well trained and controlled. He is free from persistent emotional tensions in his life.

4. Desires are in harmony with socially approved goals:- The mentally healthy person does not indulge in antisocial activities. His goal of life is in accordance with social norms. He fills his objectives in harmony with other peoples.

5. Insight into his own conduct:- The mentally healthy person has insight into his conduct. He self-evaluates his behaviour. He improves his behaviouir on the basis of his self-examination.

6. Enthusiastic and reasonable:- He has enthusiasm in life. He works with curiosity and is devoted to his profession. He is reasonable in his actions. He accepts criticism sportingly.

7. Good habits:- The healthy person has good habits. He is balanced and is not easily annoyed.

8. Philosophy of life:- The healthy person has his own philosophy of life. He develops definite attitudes towards values of life.

In brief, we can say that mental health is a condition which permits the maximum development of physical, intellectual and emotional states of the individual so that he can contribute maximum to the welfare of the society and can also realize his ideas and aims in life.


The common characteristics of psychologically healthy personality as proposed by Allport, Rogers, Fromm and Maslow etc. All agree that healthy person is in conscious control of his life. He is capable of directing his behaviour and being incharge of his own destiny. A healthy person knows who and what he is. Such person is aware of his strengths and weaknesses, virtues and vices and in general is tolerant and does not pretend to be something he is non-psychologically healthy person does not live in the past. His orientation is toward future goals but he is aware of and alive to his ongoing existence. He does not long for quiet and stability but for challenge and excitement in life, for new goals and new experiences.

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