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Mental Health Association of Central Australia


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Date:2008-12; Dated: Jul.-Dec. 2008




Mental Health Services -- Australia, Central -- Periodicals; Aboriginal Australians -- Mental Health -- Periodicals

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Mental Health Association of Central Australia

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Alice Springs


no. 18

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46 (from previous page) Mental health is dependent on social, cultural, economic and environmental conditions that require attention to ensure these conditions are conducive to mental health Social determinantsthe world in which we liveplays a large role in a persons sense of wellbeing A whole lot of things determine health! While mental health promotion is located in the realm of mental illness, mental health is clearly more than the absence of mental illness. All practitioners have a responsibility to focus on MH promotion. Consider - What does a healthy / well person look like? We were all asked to list the things that make us feel happy and good about lifeto describe what a healthy person looks like. Our group listed the following basic elements: u socially connected u inbuilt strength / resilience/ ability to bounce back u happy u confident u employed u owns own home or lives in secure housing u physically active u adventurous / healthy risk-taking u well paid or access to secure income u sense of independence and self-responsibility u access to transport u feels loved and has sense of self love u sense of identity/spiritual connection u access to education A healthy person has choices ... In defining health promotion, the Ottawa Charter (1986) states: Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve their health. Plus: To reach a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing an individual or group must be able to identify and realise aspirations, to satisfy needs and to change or cope with the environment. (Nutbeam, 1986) That is: A healthy person has choices and can choose the best choice in given situations. A healthy person can also delay gratification for longer-term benefit rather than act impulsively for instant gratification in the short-term. In considering mental health promotion: how can we enable people to make best choices?Pr om ot in g M en ta l H ea lt h & W el lb ei ng : Th e Bi gg er P ic tu re 1. The Social Gradient: Access to Economic Resources: income and social statusthe relationship between health and wealth (need to reduce income inequalities) 2. Early Life: the emotional support we receive as children and the social/economic circumstances of our childhood (need to consider Parent Support Programs & Health Promoting schools) 3. Social Inclusion: discrimination based on difference has devastating effects on our wellbeing (need to increase options for community belonging) 4. Employment/ Unemployment & Working Conditions: working gives us a sense of purpose, meaning & reward (need to improve job opportunities and quality of working conditions) 5. Social Supports: friendships and belonging are vital to our health and wellbeing (need to foster) 6. Food Security: the cost, access to, variety and availability of quality food 7. Education: how different levels affect employment opportunities 8. Gender: can affect our work roles/opportunities and stress levels 9. Discrimination & Diversity: in any form against cultural background, age, sexuality, religion, gender or ability has very dire effects on our self-esteem and wellbeing (need to foster tolerance and inclusion) 10. Addictions & Substance Misuse: influence accompanying burden of disease and social issues (eg. alcohol influencing violence, road accidents/trauma and mental illness) 11. Environments: our physical, social, economic and natural environments have a significant impact (need to create/build spaces where we can walk to shops, relax, feel safe) 12. Transport: impacts on our ability to access employment, social connections, food etc (need to provide greater equitable access) 13. Personal Health Practices & Coping Skills: information and education to develop skills and empower people to make best choices 14. Violence: has dire consquences, including self-directed and psychological (bullying) 14 Social Determinants of HealthHow our daily life conditions influence our wellbeing led to discussion of 14 key determinants which impact on us: