Although mental health means many things to many people, self-esteem and the capacity to care about others are always important parts. Mentally healthy people understand that they are not perfect, nor can they be all things to all people. They experience a full range of emotions, including sadness, anger, and frustration, as well as joy, love, and satisfaction. While they typically can handle life’s challenges and changes, they can reach out for help if they are having difficulty dealing with major traumas and transitions — loss of loved ones, marriage difficulties, school or work problems, the prospect of retirement.

Mental health and mental illness can be thought of as being on a continuum, so almost everyone will have difficulty at some time in their lives with at least a few of the items listed above. However, if symptoms interfere with your ability to enjoy life over an extended period of time, you should seek professional assistance.

It is not uncommon for a person to need help sometimes. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in ten Americans experience some disability from a diagnosable mental illness in the course of a year.