A recent Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) report documents a multi-stakeholder workshop where research, programs and policies on the topic of positive mental health and mental health promotion were reviewed. The facilitated dialogue process on which the report is based is a follow-up to a 2009 CIHI report exploring and providing a conceptual framework for positive mental health. In the recent CIHI document, positive mental health is described as: pertaining to factors “that enhance the ability to enjoy life and deal with challenges,” and “emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity.”
A diverse group of stakeholders participated in an invitational workshop which was held in conjunction with the Government of New Brunswick’s Department of Health and Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport in May 2010. Responses from the workshop and additional consultations were synthesized to build a list of recommended strategies to promote understanding of and increase activity regarding positive mental health.
Considerations for strategies to advance positive mental health discussed in the report include the importance of relating the concept to social determinants of health and equity, building capacity and relationship within and across sectors, and using evidence and evaluation. Workshop attendees recommended key strategies for change, including creating a shift in values, developing more effective communication strategies and securing sustainable resources. Guiding principles for this work were identified as promoting settings-based approaches, engaging communities and ensuring intersectoral collaboration. Workshop participants shared a view of positive mental health as a new paradigm that could support innovation in policy and decision-making.
See “Recognizing and Exploring Positive Mental Health — Policy Dialogue: Synthesis and Analysis,” CIHI, January 2011, available at www.cihi.ca. See also “Improving the Health of Canadians: Exploring Positive Mental Health,” CIHI, 2009, available at www.cihi.ca.