Send to

Choose Destination
Am Psychol. 2007 Feb-Mar;62(2):95-108.

Promoting and protecting mental health as flourishing: a complementary strategy for improving national mental health.

Author information

Department of Sociology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


This article summarizes the conception and diagnosis of the mental health continuum, the findings supporting the two continua model of mental health and illness, and the benefits of flourishing to individuals and society. Completely mentally healthy adults--individuals free of a 12-month mental disorder and flourishing--reported the fewest missed days of work, the fewest half-day or greater work cutbacks, the healthiest psychosocial functioning (i.e., low helplessness, clear goals in life, high resilience, and high intimacy), the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease, the lowest number of chronic physical diseases with age, the fewest health limitations of activities of daily living, and lower health care utilization. However, the prevalence of flourishing is barely 20% in the adult population, indicating the need for a national program on mental health promotion to complement ongoing efforts to prevent and treat mental illness. Findings reveal a Black advantage in mental health as flourishing and no gender disparity in flourishing among Whites.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Psychological Association
Loading ...
Support Center