Mental health and the continuum

How many of you have heard “I suffer with mental health?” 

On the TV, radio, and from mental health advocates, we’re sure if you think back, you’ll have heard that statement – yet that statement is incorrect. Let’s compare mental health to physical health to put this into context.

You’ve broken your leg. You call up your friend and you say, “Hey, guess what’s wrong? Yep, I suffer from physical health.” Sounds funny, doesn’t it? 

Mental health is not a diagnosis of illness. Depression, anxiety disorder, OCD – they’re not “mental health”, they’re mental illnesses/mental health illnesses/mental ill-health – the catch-all term for any psychological illness. 

Mental health is an umbrella term for your overall psychological health. Meaning your mental health can be good, it can be bad, it can be all the grey areas in between, however, it is not a diagnosis. 


The Mental Health Continuum.

Mental health is more than just the absence of illness. Mental health is not binary – no one is permanently mentally healthy or mentally ill, our mental health falls on a continuum. 

This is the mental health continuum.


For instance, someone can have an anxiety disorder and yet, with good skills and tools, can have a good mental wellbeing. Just as someone with no diagnosis, with a boot full of unhealthy coping mechanisms could potentially have poor mental wellbeing. People over the course of their lives will move through the continuum – especially when there’s a distinct lack of education around matters of the mind and ways to keep our minds healthy. 

We live in a country where 1 in 4 of us will experience some form of mental illness in our lifetime and yet we are still struggling to understand what mental health and mental illness is. As a team, in our own lives, we have all used the wrong terminology before and we have all been on the receiving end of the many stigma surrounding mental illness. 

Our message to you today is to listen to understand not to respond, to ask questions, to learn when you undoubtedly get things wrong (we all do), and to listen to those around you. Offer an ear. Hold space. You never really know who might be struggling.

Ultimately, there isn’t health without mental health.

If you’re struggling, there’s no shame in that struggle. Reach out to us here.

Please follow and like us:
Trauma: Ten strategies to help you cope. 
#The79 Walk for Suicide Awareness

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.