Mental health promotion and prevention

A male and female side silhouette positioned back to back, overlaid with various semi-transparent jigsaw pieces and words all themed on the topic of “Mental health and Illness.

Promotion and prevention interventions work by identifying the individual, social and structural determinants of mental health, and then intervening to reduce risks, build resilience and establish supportive environments for mental health. Interventions can be designed for individuals, specific groups or whole populations.

Reshaping the determinants of mental health often requires action beyond the health sector and so promotion and prevention programmes should involve the education, labour, justice, transport, environment, housing, and welfare sectors. The health sector can contribute significantly by embedding promotion and prevention efforts within health services; and by advocating, initiating and, where appropriate, facilitating multisectoral collaboration and coordination.

Suicide prevention is a global priority and included in the Sustainable Development Goals. Much progress can be achieved by limiting access to means, responsible media reporting, social and emotional learning for adolescents and early intervention. Banning highly hazardous pesticides is a particularly inexpensive and cost–effective intervention for reducing suicide rates.

Promoting child and adolescent mental health is another priority and can be achieved by policies and laws that promote and protect mental health, supporting caregivers to provide nurturing care, implementing school-based programmes and improving the quality of community and online environments. School-based social and emotional learning programmes are among the most effective promotion strategies for countries at all income levels.

Promoting and protecting mental health at work is a growing area of interest and can be supported through legislation and regulation, organizational strategies, manager training and interventions for workers.

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