3.1 What do we mean by mental health?

It is useful at this point to consider what we mean by the term ‘mental health’. In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined mental health as ‘a state of wellbeing in which an individual realises his or her own abilities [and] can cope with the normal stresses of life’. Poor mental health can be associated with change, stressful situations or lifestyle, as well as encompassing psychological or biological factors. The term ‘emotional well-being’ is synonymous with mental well-being (DoH, 2011) and is the term most often used within childcare provision by practitioners and within childcare policy documents.

The Children Act 2004 sets out the responsibilities on local authorities and their partners to cooperate to promote the well-being of children (this specifically includes their mental health and emotional well-being).

3 Recognising behavioural issues

3.2 What triggers mental ill-health?