Positive mental health promotion, health equity and public health
In this blog post, Knowledge Translation Specialist Dianne Oickle discusses new and past NCCDH resources that support action on health equity in relation to promote positive mental health.
Social determinants of health (SDH) intersect to influence health and health equity at individual, family, community and population levels; in this way, the relationship between health equity and mental health is symbiotic. More specifically, social and structural inequities amplify languishing mental health and, conversely, poor mental health can intensify and worsen the inequities experienced.
Health equity is an underlying value of public health core competencies. Beyond prevention efforts and early referral for treatment and services, a critical role for public health is to shape the social and structural factors that influence mental health inequities. Identifying and applying public health approaches to address SDH that promote positive mental health is necessary to improve population mental health outcomes for all people.
Resources to support action on health equity as a means to promote positive mental health
The National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH) has recently worked with partners to:
- identify tools and evidence that highlight the link between mental health promotion and health equity;
- explore public health strategies to address SDH and health equity that have implications for population mental health promotion; and
- take a focused look at specific groups who are more likely to experience mental health inequities, and the role of public health to address the inequities.
NCCDH knowledge products to draw attention to addressing inequities as a public health strategy to promote positive mental health are available.
- Social determinants, mental health and health equity: A curated list
- Health Equity Clicks: Community online discussion: How can public health reshape inequitable social environments to promote positive mental health?
- Blog post: “Investing in Families: Building resilience to address mental health inequities,” a post guest authored by Public Health Nurse Linh Nguyen of Toronto Public Health.
Additional resources on mental health equity
The NCCDH Resource Library contains a number of resources related to mental health:
- A live-streamed presentation by Dr. Heather Orpana titled Positive mental health and well-being across the life course: Concepts and social determinants recorded in October 2018. This presentation explores the positive mental health status of Canadian children and youth and how this intersects with SDH.
- A foundational 2017 document titled Definitions and concepts to frame population mental health promotion for children and youth provides definitions and key concepts around determinants of positive mental health for children and youth. The paper is part of a bilingual, collaborative project on population mental health from the six National Collaborating Centres for Public Health.
- A 2017 presentation by Dr. Margaret Barry on Innovative approaches to promoting population mental health and well-being, which discusses the need for policy approaches to address the social determinants of mental health.
- A 2019 NCCDH webinar titled Building for mental health: Healthy built environments for children and youth, which focuses on factors in the urban built and social environments that promote mental health for children, youth and entire communities.
We continue to pay attention to and explore strategies to address SDH and health equity issues and their impact on omental health at a population level.
We would love to hear from you with ideas ore examples we should explore. Let us know what you think by contacting Dianne Oickle, Knowledge Translation Specialist.
Photo credit: Nathan Anderson