Group of Happy Young People sitting on bench togetherPromote mental health by fostering the development of mental wellness, supporting individual resilience, creating supportive environments and addressing the influence of the broader determinants of mental health.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) defines Mental Health as “the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual wellbeing that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

STATS:  1 in 5 children in Ontario struggles with their mental health. It is estimated that approximately 40% of students can’t learn because of mental health issues (Canadian Mental Health Association, 2011).

Mental Health & the Social Determinants of Health

Unexpected problems are part of everyday living. An individual’s ability to handle them is a good indicator of mental health. Healthy people can consider options, reach out to others for support and make decisions in a timely way. However, other determinants of health, such as poverty, may also affect one’s ability to handle unexpected problems by limiting choices and increasing stress.