Children and mental health; how does the mental health continuum work?


There is a subtle yet important difference between mental health and mental health conditions. Mental health and mental health conditions are different and exist on a continuum, from Flourishing, Going OK, Unsettled to having a mental health condition.

Children and young people shift back and forth along the continuum, and most children and young people sit at the positive mental health end of the continuum, most of the time. Mental health changes over time in response to different stresses and experiences. There are many factors, both internal and external, that affect where someone generally sits on the continuum, and also where they sit at any given point in time.

Many children and young people will demonstrate changes in their relationships, behaviour and learning that suggest they may be in, or are moving towards, the mental health condition end of the continuum. Strong emotional and behavioural reactions are understandable and expected when someone is faced with difficult circumstances and should not necessarily be considered signs of a mental health condition. Thoughts, emotions and behaviours are also influenced by many other factors that need to be considered, such as temperament, cultural background, and the presence of learning and developmental disabilities.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:



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