Science advisory report on effective interventions in mental health promotion and mental disorder prevention
The literature review undertaken for this science advisory report demonstrates that there are currently a number of effective mental health promotion and mental disorder prevention measures. Moreover, some of these measures, particularly those targeting children and youth, are already part of the province’s public health services program. These measures are therefore ripe for stakeholders from various sectors involved with each age group to consolidate their efforts, given the numerous interests they share. Other promising measures need to be adapted to the Québec reality or studied further to better grasp their impact on mental health.
The work carried out has brought certain facts to light:
- The importance of taking action early in life because the prenatal phase and the first years of a child’s life are critical periods in establishing the foundations of an individual’s mental health. In fact, the protection and risk factors to which children and youth are exposed, though they may eventually be influenced by other factors, help make them stronger or more vulnerable over the short, medium and long terms.
- The necessity of developing the personal and social skills of all individuals, given their protective effect on mental health, especially in situations of adversity. Children and youth in particular could benefit from such mental health promotion measures because they are complementary to other preventive measures.
- The importance of supporting adults in their professional, social and parental tasks and responsibilities. Support for employees is particularly critical, given the influence of this environment on adults’ mental balance.
- The need to act early and effectively with certain at-risk groups such as children who have a parent with a mental disorder, individuals dealing with significant stress and any other individuals at risk of depression or anxiety.
- The relevance of encouraging the creation of environments that foster mental health be it for school-aged children, workers or the entire community.
- The urgency of increasing the public’s mental health literacy, on one hand, to improve knowledge and beliefs regarding mental disorders particularly among young adults, enabling their prevention, recognition and treatment 492 and, on the other, to reduce stigmatization and discrimination towards individuals with mental disorders.
- Lastly, although we have increasing evidence on the effectiveness of promotion and prevention measures in the area of mental health, it is imperative that research in this field be encouraged. Despite the scientific advances noted, research on the effectiveness and efficiency of programs should be a priority to increase the level of evidence pertaining to some of the measures identified.
Major developments have taken place in recent years regarding knowledge about mental health promotion and mental disorder prevention, especially following the publication of several key international reports. It is clear that the effectiveness of our efforts is dependent in large part on our collective ability to develop a global, systemic and integrated vision of mental health promotion and prevention. The effectiveness of interventions developed in partnership using strategies from the Ottawa Charter confirms the relevance and effectiveness of joint efforts in mental health among all stakeholders. This science advisory report thus lays the groundwork for further reflection on effective interventions in mental health promotion and mental disorder prevention. It also invites researchers, practitioners and decision makers to become involved in common efforts conducive to maintaining and improving our collective social good: the mental health of the population.