According to the World Health Organization:
Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
What determines mental health:
Many things factor into a person's mental health, including:
- Socio-economic pressures (i.e. poverty, education)
- Work conditions
- Gender discrimination
- Sexual exclusion
- Unhealthy lifestyle
- Risks of violence
- Poor physical health
- Psychological or personality factors
- Imbalances of chemicals in the brain
It is important when considering mental health to remember that it is not just the absence of a mental disorder.
Promotion and Protection of mental health:
Because there are so many factors to consider in promoting and protecting mental health, it is important to coordinate with many sectors (i.e. justice, labor, education, transport, housing, etc) when creating programs/ strategies. Some examples include:
- early childhood interventions (e.g. home visits for pregnant women, pre-school psycho-social activities, combined nutritional and psycho-social help for disadvantaged populations);
- support to children (e.g. skills building programmes, child and youth development programmes);
- socio-economic empowerment of women (e.g. improving access to education and microcredit schemes);
- social support for elderly populations (e.g. befriending initiatives, community and day centres for the aged);
- programmes targeted at vulnerable groups, including minorities, indigenous people, migrants and people affected by conflicts and disasters (e.g. psycho-social interventions after disasters);
- mental health promotional activities in schools (e.g. programmes supporting ecological changes in schools and child-friendly schools);
- mental health interventions at work (e.g. stress prevention programmes);
- housing policies (e.g. housing improvement);
- violence prevention programmes (e.g. reducing availability of alcohol and access to arms);
- community development programmes (e.g. integrated rural development);
- poverty reduction and social protection for the poor;
- anti-discrimination laws and campaigns;
- promotion of the rights, opportunities and care of individuals with mental disorders.
Mental health care and treatment
Care and treatment for mental health varies by person. For more information on resources available for care, support, or treatment on Nantucket, visit Behavioral Health Resources.