‘UPSTREAM’ CHALLENGES: What is Causing the High Burden of Mental Health Problems?

'UPSTREAM' CHALLENGES: What is Causing the High Burden of Mental Health Problems?

Dr. Trevor HancockLaurel Packing House

We need to recognize that two-thirds of the classic WHO definition of health is about mental and social well-being, not physical well-being. But these are challenging times to maintain mental and social well-being, as mental health problems have become an increasingly heavy burden for the health care system, families, communities, and society as a whole. While there are undoubtedly biological and behavioural factors at work, we must pay more attention to upstream factors such as inadequate support for parenting and early child development, social stressors at school and work, and poverty, inequality, racism, colonialism, and the rising concern with climate change.

Dr. Trevor Hancock, Hon FFPH, Public Health & Social Policy Scholar/University of Victoria, is an internationally recognized public health physician and population health promotion expert. He was a pioneer and leader in the global healthy cities and communities movement, co-founded the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, and has been focusing recently on healthy, socially, and ecologically sustainable communities.
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