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Swinging through The Mental Health Continuum

The Mental Health Continuum

The Mental Health Continuum is a tool which helps us to think about our wellbeing and what actions we can take to improve it. It helps us to identify where and when our mental health is low and trigger us to implement strategies to help with our recovery. It also helps us to identify when our menta health and wellbeing is high, so we can implement strategies to maintain those levels and prevent it from dipping or at least reduce the risks of developing poor mental health.

This concept of a mental health recovery and prevention approach is what the 8Wise™ method was designed for.  It links into the Mental Health Continuum and provides you with a tool to use throughout your life so you can be in control of your psychological wellbeing.

Overall, the Mental Health Continuum, like 8Wise™ sees mental health as flexible – acknowledging that there are reasons why people experience mental ill-health, and if those reasons can be worked with and overcome then there is hope that recovery is not only possible, but likely.

The Menta Health Continuum model is built from four core dimensions where people can measure their mental health in terms of Thriving, Surviving, Struggling or In Crisis.

  • Someone who is in theThriving category will typically feel “normal”, have good sleep habits and energy. For these folks, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, practice time management, and nurture your support systems.
  • People in theSurviving category might feel symptoms of irritability and sadness; have trouble sleeping or have low energy, muscle tension or headaches; and they might start decreasing their amount of social activity. In this category it is important to get adequate rest, food, and exercise; start engaging in healthy coping strategies; and start identifying stressors in your life.
  • Someone in theStruggling category might feel emotional symptoms like anxiety, anger, sadness, or hopelessness. They might experience restless sleep, fatigue, aches and pains. People in this category might see a performance decline in work or school and might start withdrawing. For people in this category, it is important to talk with someone about your difficulties, seek help from a professional, and reach out to your social supports instead of withdrawing.
  • People in theCrisis category might feel excessive anxiety, extreme emotions, and depressed moods. They might be unable to fall or stay asleep but feel exhaustion and are often susceptible to physical illness. They might start avoiding social events and work or school. For people in this category, it is important to seek professional health as soon as possible.

How is it used?

The Mental Health Continuum is widely used to:

  • Identify the underlying causes of difficulty in daily life functions.
  • Gather information about the different mental health states of a person over time.
  • Indicate when it would be ideal to seek professional assistance to restore mental balance.
  • Recognize symptoms of psychological disorders

As well as it being a tool to help you on a personal level, the tool can also be used as a reliable self-help tool for professionals at work, teachers and students, and is a popular choice among leaders and managers as a part of organizational psychology, because it helps to:

  • Identify sources of stress among employees at all levels
  • Encourage employees to grow a healthy mindset that can help them overcome distress.
  • Maintain a growth mindset among leaders, supervisors, and others in the company.
  • Understand how to identify mental health symptoms.
  • Learn how to deal with psychological crises effectively and not allow them to jeopardize wellbeing.

How can you use this tool for you?

It’s important to learn ‘how’ to use this tool for yourself, for all the reasons mentioned above. Situations and interactions occur every day that impact us – sometimes positively, other times negatively and everything in-between. As I have previously mentioned the mental health continuum is a useful tool to check in with yourself and prompt you to start implementing some of the 8Wiseä strategy. From using the tool, you can see how you are doing, what you might want to be mindful of to ensure that you are okay, and what tools you can use to improve your wellbeing.

Each of the four categories, or dimensions, gives examples of what you may be feeling, helping you to stop, reflect and identify potential factors that influence how you are feeling, how your mental health is at that moment and how it may impact you at work and at home. We use the mental health continuum in its full detail as part of the 8Wiseä Wellness Programme using it as part of the foundation of learning to Live the 8 Wise Way.

Have a look at the continuum in the diagram below to gain some clarity on where you are today.

The Mental Health Continuum Chart

Remember:  Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you identify yourself to be struggling or in crisis and need some support with a recovery programme.  Or even if you are thriving and excelling there is nothing wrong in getting some additional support to develop your mental wealth to help you maintain that level of mental health and wellbeing and prevent it from spiralling towards the other end of the continuum.

Note:  If you are in the surviving category see this as your sign, where the continuum swings next depend on what action you take today. Whether you’re reaching out to a friend or a therapist, you don’t have to go through this alone.

Our 8Wise™ Wellness Programme focusses on Mental Wealth to develop optimal levels of Mental Health and Wellbeing.  It can help you address every aspect of your health and well-being and improve your quality of life.

If you would like to book a session or register for our next programme, get in touch today.

For more information on 8Wise™ and the mental health services provided check out the rest of this website.

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