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Exploring the Fine Line Between Mental Health and Mental Illness

The World Health Organization defines mental health as "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community".

Mental health falls on a continuum, or range, from mental health to mental illness. At any given time, we can lie at one point on the continuum and shift position as situations arise. We cannot control all aspects of our lives that can impact our mental health. But we can manage those demands and how we cope with them.


The Mental Health Continuum Model

The Mental Health Continuum Model is a range of well-being with mental health and mental illness at the two extreme ends. The four zones of this model are thriving, surviving, struggling and in in-crisis. It is a popular tool used by leaders and managers of leading organization. It is a reliable self-help tool to help you visualize, plan and achieve goals for a healthier lifestyle.

picture of mental health continuum model


Mental illness is changes in emotion, thinking or behavior or a combination of these, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Mental illness doesn't have to always indicate an ongoing illness.

Mental illness is like any other health problem, there are times of ill health and of better and good health. In many cases, social stigma and self-stigma prevents people from seeking professional help.

When stress is overwhelming and prolonged, the risk for mental health problems increase. Assess your stress and identify ways to manage them.

Physical activity is key to managing stress and improving mental health. It is important to have some stress relief tools that works best for your current circumstances.

Exercising, yoga, walking and meditating are some great stress relievers. You may have to experiment to figure out what works best for you.

Mental Health is your emotional, psychological and social well-being. In order to prevent mental illness, we must maintain our mental wellness. Remain positive and seek out professional help when needed.

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