SCOPE OF THE ISSUE
Our mental health is affected by many factors including where we live, the state of our environment, genetics, our income and education level, and our relationships with friends and family. Positive mental health is a cornerstone of our overall well-being. Mentally healthy people are able to cope with the inevitable stress and strain of daily life and have the resilience to rebound from life-changing events such as loss of a loved one, loss of a job, or marriage breakdown. However, some leading health indicators show Canadians as a whole, and some groups in particular, are experiencing mental health problems in their lives. These problems exact a significant toll on individuals, their families, and society at large. • Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds, and 16% among those from 25 to 44. • More than half a million persons aged 15 and over (2.2%) reported having activity limitations due to emotional, psychological or psychiatric conditions. An additional 1.8% had activity limitations due to frequent memory problems or periods of confusion. • Stress and mental health-related problems currently represent 40-50% of the short-term disability claims among employees of some of Canada's largest corporations. • The Canadian economy loses an estimated $30 billion a year in productivity due to mental illness and addiction problems. • Social conditions such as poverty, income disparities, homelessness and housing instability, income insecurity, racism, sexism, homophobia negatively impact mental health.
Health promotion seeks to develop strategies that increase individual and community control over the determinants of health to improve overall health and promote social justice and equity. Mental health promotion builds on the above principles. It entails enhancing people’s resiliency and coping skills, and above all, their capacity to take control...