Evidence of the Complete State Model of Mental Health: Implications on public policy and practice

Matthew Iasiello, Joep Van Agteren, Eimear Muir-Cochrane

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The burgeoning economic and societal costs of mental ill-health have necessitated immediate action to reform mental health care in Australia. Current work to reduce the burden of mental illness is largely underpinned by the assumption that mental health and mental illness exist as opposite ends of the same spectrum. However, Keyes’ (2005) landmark publication revealed that mental illness and positive mental health (wellbeing) are two separate, correlated, unipolar dimensions.

Thus, mental illness and mental health are related concepts, but are not two opposite ends of the same spectrum as was previously thought. This model was named the complete state model of mental health, and posits that an individual has ‘complete mental health’ when they have both a high level of wellbeing and a low level (or no diagnosis) of mental illness. Since Keyes’ publication, the model has been investigated through a wide range of approaches, in different contexts, and with various findings and conclusions.

A systematic scoping review was performed to amalgamate and synthesise the research on the complete state model, aiming to examine the evidence of the model's validity, and to pragmatically summarise the implications of the model. Results of this scoping review will be presented, with a key focus on the quality of extant literature on the model, and a practical summary of the implications for policy makers and practitioners. By transforming our understanding of the relationship between mental health and mental illness, the complete state model could underpin significant mental health reform in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 5 Sep 2018
EventThird International Conference on Wellbeing and Public Policy - Parliament Building and Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Duration: 5 Sep 20187 Sep 2018


ConferenceThird International Conference on Wellbeing and Public Policy
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
Internet address

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