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Positive mental health promotion, health equity and public health

Written ByDianne OickleDianne Oickle on January 24, 2020
Dianne Oickle

Dianne Oickle, MSc, BSc

Knowledge Translation Specialist

Dianne is a dietitian with over 15 years’ experience working in public health in Ontario focused on reproductive and child health in a mostly rural setting with many diverse clients. Part of her work involved development of practice guidelines for health professionals, train-the-trainer initiatives, public presentations, educational resource development, working with the media, community coalition and network support, writing for the public and professionals, and program planning, implementation, and evaluation. She has taught university nutrition courses, worked with the provincial network supporting and advocating for dietitians in public health practice, and precepted over 20 dietetics and other students. Dianne earned her BSc in Nutrition and Consumer Studies (now Human Nutrition) at St. Francis Xavier University, and her MSc in Nutrition from the University of Saskatchewan.

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.  

Additional resources on mental health equity

The NCCDH Resource Library contains a number of resources related to mental health:

Future work

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


Mental Health

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