U-M Counseling and Psychological Services

Mental health has been defined as:

  • the successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities
  • fulfilling relationships with other people
  • the ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity or difficult life situations

Although different cultures have differing expectations for health, many of the following characteristics are likely to be present in individuals with good mental health:

  • a sense of well-being and contentment
  • self-confidence and self-esteem
  • the ability to enjoy life, to laugh and have fun
  • being able to deal with life’s stresses and bounce back from adversity with some resiliency
  • the ability to change, grow, and experience a range of feelings, as life’s circumstances change
  • the ability to care for oneself and for others


Did you know?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder, is a treatable brain disorder in which one may experience unusual shifts in mood, ranging from excessively “high”, happy and/or irritable to sad and hopeless. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe and can interupt school, work, personal relationships, basic daily functioning, and can impair quality of life.

Video: Coping with Bipolar

A friend of a person experiencing a mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, may encounter common difficulties. Although situations differ, there are basic suggestions to help to facilitate a smoother adjustment.

Note: These are actors portraying real student stories.

Video: Coping With Depression

Why am I so Bummed out? I can't get motivated! I don't care anymore! Sound familiar? Sometimes we need to regain control through hard work and commitment. Other times it may not be that easy

Note: These are actors portraying real student stories.

You can find valuable tips for managing depression by viewing videos from experts at the University of Michigan Depression Center.


Looking Past the Stereotype