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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday 26 January 2012

The Culmulative Impact of Socio-Environmental Factors on Mental Health

I've been arguing this for some time now; fortunately, people are starting to see the bigger picture. 

In treating mental illness as a given and treating those with illnesses as clients, we're essentially trying to find better treatment for lead poisoning.  We can no longer afford to ignore the huge impact environmental factors have on cognitive ability and mental health.

The mind is a tool we don't understand - we use it less effectively than we could and we stress it in entirely avoidable ways.  Understanding the root source of thought, communication, creativity, emotion, altruism, confidence, planning - the tools we build our society from - will allow us to do it all better.

Matt Fisher explains:

"The cumulative evidence on mental illness in populations, along with research on stress arousal, tells us that some aspects of life in modern environments causally contribute to illness by acting as chronic stressors.

This pathway is thought to lie behind associations found between exposure to conditions such as insecure employment, unaffordable housing, low income, social isolation, and abuse or violence, and common forms of mental illness. The uneven distribution of these factors across the population thus contributes — in no small way — to social inequalities in health outcomes.

The lesson for health promotion is that there are tremendous opportunities available for primary prevention of mental illness, by reducing population exposures to these factors. Necessarily, this requires prudent use of complementary policy measures across a range of portfolios, including measures to reduce overall socioeconomic inequality.

Current mental health policy does not venture to pursue this wider challenge."
We can do better - we NEED to do better.

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