Health Studies

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Approaches to Health

There are many different social approaches to the definitions of health and ill health, all of which can be looked at from different aspects. The definition of health, set by The World’s Health Organization in 1948, is “a state of complete mental, physical and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (WHO 1948) This definition can be seen as a basic understanding as to what health is, showing that health can not just be a form of physical illness, such as a disease or physical impairment, but something that lies much deeper within the person mentally, which can have a greater impact on a person social involvement. The Worlds Health Organization also define mental health as “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. In this positive sense, mental health is the foundation for individual well-being and the effective functioning of a community” (WHO 1984). This statement shows that mental health can involve stresses from daily attributes, yet someone with a mental health illness can also have something more difficult going on mentally for them to be able to deal with daily situations, as a mentally ill person can have anything from depression to schizophrenia, which are unnoticeable, therefore linking this back to definition of health, where people can be seen to have a “complete sense of mental wellbeing”, when they actually might not. Another definition of ill health is “a condition of inferior health in which some disease or impairment of function is present but is usually not as serious in terms of curtailing activity as an illness” (Merriam-Webster 2011). These definitions are socially constructed because of different people’s opinions on how health can be perceived. This is because of the lack of awareness of mental health issues and how people don’t...
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