Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

The dual continuum of mental health and mental illness

(Queensland Mental Health Commission, 2015, p. 12)

The dual continuum provides a contemporary view of mental health and wellbeing, showing that mental health and mental illness are separate and distinct concepts. In this model, mental health is conceptualised as positive feelings and positive functioning. High mental health can be thought of as ‘flourishing’. Mental health and wellbeing is an asset that can be cultivated and developed. 


A person can experience positive or negative ‘mental health’ and ‘mental illness’ at the same time. ’Positive’ or ‘high’ mental health can help to prevent some mental illnesses from developing and can contribute to a person’s recovery journey (sometimes reducing the severity, duration and relapse of a mental illness).

People displaying positive mental health and wellbeing can be thought of as functioning well and flourishing in the following domains: qualities and skills/attributes in these domains of mental health might also be thought of as flourishing:

  • emotional wellbeing
  • psychological wellbeing
  • social wellbeing
  • physical wellbeing
  • spirituality and Cultural wellbeing.

Version history

Back to top

Published on:

Last reviewed:

  • Date: 
  • Date: 
    Page created