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The diagnosis question

Increasingly, mental health problems are labelled as an illness like any other. But can a focus on diagnoses, rather than experiences, harm as well as help?

By Eleanor Morgan  

Mental health diagnoses can help people understand their experiences and access help. But some practitioners have raised queries, too. Photo: Prospect composite

What is mental health?

Despite the term’s omnipresence, there is very little consensus in terms of definition. In 2014, the WHO defined mental health as: “A state of well-being in which every individual realises 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.”

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