Table 1

Current definitions of mental health and participant rank ordering from most to least preferred

Definition of mental healthMost preferred (%)Second most preferred (%)
Public Health Agency of Canada18
“Mental health is the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think, and 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”


“Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”


McKenzie K (personal communication, 2014)
“A mentally healthy community offers people the ability to thrive. It is one in which people feel a sense of connectedness and there are also networks which link people from all walks of life to each other. There is a strong community identity but despite this the community is welcoming of diversity. People participate in their community, organize to combat common threats and offer support and aid for those in need”
Huber et al15
Mental health is the “ability to adapt and self-manage”
“None of the existing definitions are satisfactory”306