Mental health continuum (A guide)


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Page last updated: 17/10/2022

Mental health continuum

In this brief blog, we will discuss the mental health continuum. Mental Health is seen as being on a continuum which changes over our lifetime.

Our mental health isn’t fixed. It can range from good to bad at different points in our life.

What is the Mental health continuum?

“The mental health continuum is a range of mental health with mentally healthy at the left of the spectrum, mental health problems in the middle, and mental disorder at the right end of the spectrum. A person fluctuates on the continuum depending on internal or external factors.

Three Mental Health Sections

The mental health continuum can be visualized as a line divided into three sections: mentally healthy, mental health problem, and mental disorder.

1. Mentally Healthy

Found in the first section are people who are mentally healthy. Mentally healthy people can be characterized as emotionally stable, self-respecting, goal-oriented people.

More specific examples of how you’d describe mentally healthy people include the following:

Generally happy and content with their lives

Being able to form and maintain healthy relationships with others

Skilled at problem solving and tackling life challenges

Able to cope with most stressors and negative emotions that they encounter on a daily basis

2. Mental Health Problem

In the middle section of the continuum are the people with mental health problems.

Perhaps they are not able to cope with certain stressors, and it is causing them to lose sleep and feel a little depressed.

People who have mental health problems have some symptoms of disorder that are moderate and/or temporary but affect their life in some negative manner.

Some of these moderate problems can include:

Suffer from moderate and/or temporary symptoms of a depression, anxiety, panic, a loss of appetite or insomnia

May experience stress in daily lives but not know how to handle it: the stress may lead to negative symptoms such as isolation or use of alcohol or drugs to numb the pain

And finally…

Mental health continuum (A guide)

3. Mental Disorder

In the last section of the continuum are the people with mental health disorders.

A person with a mental disorder has many factors that impact their normal functioning and tend to need serious or longer treatment.

These factors include the following:

Has a cluster of negative symptoms that significantly impact their functioning

Has difficulty forming or maintaining healthy relationships with others

Typically needs mental health treatment or therapy

Usually suffers from more chronic or longer-lasting symptoms than just a mental health problem

May have depression or panic attacks that are seriously debilitating

Could even suffer from more severe symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations”

If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, loneliness or any similar mental health issue then seeking help for it may be a good option.

Mental health issues such as depression, loneliness and anxiety can affect anyone of us.

If you are under 18 then CAMHS, an NHS run programme may just be the answer for your mental health struggles.

You should look to see if you meet the CAMHS referral criteria and then fill in the CAMHS referral form.