Mental Health Continuum Model

The Mental Health Continuum Model is a tool that helps people understand the state of their mental health. The model uses a scale with four colour blocks: healthy (green), reacting (yellow), injured (orange), and ill (red). The table below illustrates it, and includes some of the thoughts and feelings people might have in each of its colour block.

Use the guided self-assessment provided below to help you identify which colour block best represents your current mental health. When you hover over a colour block, you will see suggested coping strategies, resources, and supports that are most helpful for that section.

There are more resources and coping strategies near the end of this toolkit that you can access to improve your mental health.

Remember, mental health is always changing so you can return to the scale again to see how you have moved on the Continuum.

Note: Signs and indicators in the yellow block of the continuum are normal responses to stress and trauma that can be expected to resolve over time.


Signs and indicators

Normal mood fluctuations
Good sense of humour
Takes things in stride
Can concentrate/focus
Consistent performance
Normal sleep patterns
Energetic, physically well, stable weight
Physically and socially active
Performing well
Limited alcohol consumption, no binge drinking
Limited/no addictive behaviours
No trouble/impact due to substance use
Nervousness, irritability
Sadness, overwhelmed
Displaced sarcasm
Distracted, loss of focus
Intrusive thoughts
Trouble sleeping, low energy
Changes in eating patterns, some weight gain/loss
Decreased social activity
Regular to frequent alcohol consumption, limited binge drinking
Some to regular addictive behaviours
Limited to some trouble/impact due to substance use
Anxiety, anger, pervasive sadness, hopelessness,
Negative attitude
Recurrent intrusive thoughts/images
Difficulty concentrating
Restless, disturbed sleep
Increased fatigue, aches and pain
Fluctuations in weight
Avoidance, tardiness, decreased performance
Frequent alcohol consumption, binge drinking
Struggle to control addictive behaviours
Increased trouble/impact due to substance use
Excessive anxiety, panic attacks, easily enraged, aggressive
Depressed mood, numb
Non compliant
Cannot concentrate, loss of cognitive ability
Suicidal thoughts/intent
Cannot fall asleep/stay asleep
Constant fatigue, illness
Extreme weight fluctuations
Withdrawal, absenteeism
Can’t perform duties
Regular-to-frequent binge drinking
Significant trouble/impact due to substance use

Actions to take at each phase of the Continuum

Focus on task at hand
Break problems into manageable tasks
Controlled, deep breathing
Nurture a support system
Recognize limits, take breaks
Get enough rest, food, exercise
Reduce barriers to help-seeking
Identify and resolve problems early
Example of personal accountability
Talk to someone, ask for help
Tune into own signs of distress
Make self-care a priority
Get help sooner, not later
Maintain social contact, don’t withdraw
Follow care recommendations
Seek consultation as needed
Respect confidentiality
Know resources and how to access them

The Big Four

Specific: your behaviour
Measurable: see progress
Attainable: challenging and realistic
Relevant: want it or need it
Time-bound: set finish time
Be calm and relaxed
Use all senses
See positive mental images
Keep it simple
Use movement
Become aware of self-talk
Stop the negative messages
Replace with positive
Practice thought stopping:
* “I can do this
* “I am trained and ready”;
* “I will focus on what I can do
Rule of four:
* Inhale to count of four
* Exhale for count of four
* Practice for four minutes
Breathe into the diaphragm

AIR: Ad hoc Incident Review

that something has happened, and listen
Check in and apply the Mental Health Continuum Model
Observe and follow up
If you are concerned about signs of poor or declining mental health in yourself or a buddy, get it checked out. Resources include:
Mental health team
Crisis or help lines
Community mental health services
Family Doctor