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Tara Thiagarajan Ph.D.

Mental Well-Being: What’s Your Score?

Assess where you fall along the spectrum of mental health and well-being.

Source: sdominick/iStockphoto

The rollercoaster of modern life means that your mental well-being is more important now than ever before. But if someone asked you to say which aspects of your mental well-being were doing ok, and which aspects could do with a bit of attention, would you know the answer?

Today, so much of the emphasis on mental health is focused on ‘disorders’ rather than mental well-being. Yet life comes naturally with adversity and, for most, not every mental challenge or moment of sadness warrants labeling as a clinical disorder. But within the natural ups and downs of normal life, our mental well-being can still feel compromised at times.

Our mental well-being is a reflection of how well equipped we are to seize life's opportunities, to handle its challenges and rebound from adverse experiences. But, how can we each know where we fall along this spectrum of well-being? And what can we do to make sure we manage our mental well-being more effectively so that we can be the best version of ourselves? On the flip side, how do we know when we have slid far enough on this spectrum that it warrants seeking professional help? When exactly are we mentally sick?

Assessing Mental Well-Being

To understand and improve our mental well-being, we first have to have a good way to measure it. Unfortunately, the majority of tools available today focus on the diagnosis of specific mental health disorders, or take a narrower approach to cognitive and emotional functioning, rather than providing broad insights into overall mental well-being.

Having a tool which isn’t disorder-focused has dual benefits. Firstly, it allows people who don’t suffer from a mental health disorder to get a better idea of where they stand with their general mental well-being so that they can work on any areas that need adjustment. And secondly, it can offer a clearer perspective on where the fuzzy boundary between mental health and mental ill-health really lies. Because if you understand the landscape of “normal” mental well-being, you can form a better idea of where that landscape starts to shift towards mental ill-health.

The Dimensions of Mental Well-Being

But how do you actually measure mental well-being? Mental well-being isn’t a single entity. It is composed of a multitude of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors which span a broad range of mental functioning. It includes everything from cognitive abilities and emotional regulation, through to the perception of self, the nature of our relationships with others, and the connection between mind and body. Effective assessments of mental well-being need to capture these multiple aspects.

Furthermore, although seemingly positive traits are an asset for some, they can sometimes end up being a problem for others. For example, having high levels of empathy can help you effectively navigate your social world but can also become a problem if you are overwhelmed by the negative feelings of those around you. In addition, more is not necessarily better, as shown by traits like confidence where both overly low and overly high confidence can be a problem. Instead, what really matters is how it affects you. Understanding your specific areas of weakness and strength can help you determine which aspects need some extra investment to ensure that you are well equipped to successfully deal with life’s challenges.

The Mental Health Quotient

The Mental Health Quotient (MHQ) developed by Sapien Labs provides an assessment that encompasses the breadth of your mental well-being and was developed based on a scientific evaluation of over 120 diagnostic tools that span the spectrum of mental health disorders and beyond.

Want to know your Mental Well-being Score? Click here to assess your MHQ.