What is mental health continuum and how does it affect performance?
Mental health is not a binary, “you have a mental health problem” or “you don’t have a mental health problem” type of outcome. Rather, the state of our mental health lies on a continuum, ranging from excelling to debilitating. Our state of mental health can change quickly or gradually over time depending on various contributing factors (positive or negative) such as a death in the family, birth of a child, severe financial loss, acute or chronic illness, job loss or job gain, high or low stress at work, bullying, and many others. As such we may experience excellent mental health at one stage, strained at another stage, or very poor mental health at yet another stage of our life.
If an employee is mentally strained or injured (e.g. overly stressed, burnt out, highly anxious, depressed, or feel unsafe), they may not have the full physical and/or psychological capacity to deliver their best performance and stay productive. A portion of their daily energy needs to be directed to coping and managing their mental health difficulties (which could also prompt the manifestation of physical ailments). Those who work, live, and interact regularly with these employees could also be affected. As such, creating a work environment that focuses on mental strain/injury awareness, prevention, and early intervention is critical to the maintenance of employees’ stable productivity and wellness.
Adapted from: National Defense and the Canadian Armed Forces: Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) as well as Mental Health Commission of Canada: The Working Mind Mental Health Continuum