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Mental Health vs. Emotional Health: Major Differences

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Samyak Lalit
Samyak Lalit | October 21, 2021 (Last update: July 11, 2022)

Samyak Lalit is an author and disability rights activist. He is a polio survivor and the founder of projects like Kavita Kosh, Gadya Kosh, TechWelkin, WeCapable, Dashamlav and Viklangta Dot Com. Website:

People often use the terms Mental Health and Emotional Health interchangeably. Some of the characteristics may overlap, but the two are very different from one another. If you are simply concerned about maintaining your overall health then you need to take care of both along with your physical health. It is easy to do by adopting a healthy lifestyle. You do not practically need to understand the differences between the two in such a case. But, if you are experiencing an issue related to your mental health or emotional health, you need to understand the difference so that you can focus exactly where it is needed.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health, in general, refers to cognitive processes including memory, focus, attention, alertness, reasoning, and thinking abilities. A person with sound mental condition functions productively, makes appropriate decisions, and relates well with others.

What is Emotional Health?

Emotional health basically means our ability to manage our feelings and emotions, especially in times when we feel agitated or stirred up. Emotionally healthy people can accurately monitor one’s feelings and express their emotions and control their behavior during pleasant as well as unpleasant life events.

Difference between Mental Health and Emotional Health

Mental health and emotional health are both parts of our overall well-being. The state of mental health reflects, how well a person’s mind processes information or experiences. It also includes the ability of reasoning and makes a decision. On the other hand, emotional health revolves around how well a person responds or expresses her emotions.

Suppose you encounter a situation where one of your colleagues expresses a contrasting viewpoint to yours. How well you receive that information. How your brain processes the information. What conclusion you draw after considering your viewpoint. And what conclusion you draw from the contradicting viewpoint of your colleague depends on your mental health. For how much time you remember the information or how you co-relate it with other things too depends on the state of your mental health. On the other hand, how do you react or respond to the situation or the conversation, depends on your state of emotional health.

Are Mental Health and Emotional Health Connected?

Emotion too is controlled by our mind (though we generally give the credit to our heart!). As a result, we cannot entirely separate mental health and emotional health. Both affect each other to some extent. However, none of them are entirely dependent on each other. A person with mental health issues might exhibit a healthy emotional state.

For example, a person dealing with a mental health issue might feel drained and out of energy. However, she might exhibit her strong emotional health by finding positive ways to manage that lack of energy. A person might feel stressed and completely broke from inside due to an underlying mental health issue. But she may also exhibit her emotional well-being by not venting out her frustrations on anyone she meets.

We can say that despite being connected, one of the two may thrive while the other struggles. A person struggling with a mental health issue may express her emotions maturely and a person with a healthy mental condition might struggle to express her emotions properly.

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