"Mental Health America believes each person's total wellness can be charted along a circular continuum of wellness...
...there is a path to wellness available to us."
“Considering health and illness as points along a continuum helps one appreciate that neither state exists in isolation from the other... everyday language tends to encourage a misperception that “mental health” or mental illness is unrelated to ‘physical health’ or ‘physical illness.’ In fact, the two are inseparable.” (Dept. of HHS, 1999)
Mental Health America believes each person’s total wellness can be charted along a circular continuum of wellness—what we call The Wellness Circle™. The Wellness Circle™ allows us to personally assess our overall wellness at any point in our lives. It reinforces the notion that, no matter where we are on the circle, there is a path to wellness available to us. And, as the data clearly demonstrate, the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of our total health—our wellness—are inextricably linked along this path. We cannot be truly well by focusing on only one aspect of our health.
Perhaps most importantly, the Wellness Circle™ reminds us that each of us is only one life’s event away from needing help with a mental health issue—one step away from a radically different position on our Wellness Circle™. For this reason, discrimination against those facing a serious mental health challenge simply makes no sense. Statistics clearly show we are all very likely to experience just such an event at least once in our lifetime. This is why the educational component of MHA’s mission is so vital.
If each of us knows that the vast majority of mental health conditions are treatable, we can, no matter how challenging the mental health obstacle we face, always chart a course back to wellness. The three states of wellness are:
Wellness and Prevention
(green, the combination of blue and yellow) - Wellness is a state of being in which an individual is able to participate in all areas of life. It encompasses the notion of balance in one’s life among the mental, physical, and spiritual elements of wellness. A person who has achieved this sense of wellness, this balance, can be fully engaged in their family and community. Personal resilience to stress or trauma helps to prevent individuals from becoming ill.
(blue) - Treatment seeks to resolve or mitigate the harmful effects of a mental or substance-use condition. When someone becomes ill, a wide variety of treatments and supports are effective in returning them to wellness. Pharmaceuticals, psycho-therapies, rehabilitation, and supports are key elements of treatment.
(yellow) - Recovery is a deeply personal process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills, and roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life with or without limitations caused by illness. (Anthony, et.al., 2002)