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There is no health without mental health. Positive mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders or disabilities; it is integral to overall health and wellbeing1.

Communities can promote and support mental health by creating the conditions that enable citizens to access and maintain the necessary resources for living, which in turn make the healthier choice the easy choice. Communities that respect and protect basic human rights, value diversity and promote social, economic and political inclusion lay the foundation for supporting positive mental health. Only a whole community approach can address the many determinants which are the foundation of positive mental and physical health and wellbeing2.

Positive mental health and wellbeing are essential for normal human function. Yet, one in three Canadians will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime; and, one in five Canadians experiences one or more mental health problems each year3.  Without a supportive environment, individuals are more vulnerable to poor physical and mental health outcomes; triggered by harmful behaviours – which are turned to, to help cope with life’s stresses.

Positive mental health and wellbeing requires a whole community approach to the many focus areas (e.g. healthy eating, alcohol and tobacco use, physical activity –among others), that negatively impact our health. But even more importantly –only a whole community approach can address the many determinants which are the foundation of positive mental and physical health and wellbeing; making the healthier choice, the easy choice.

We are currently working with mental health stakeholders to develop proven community-based strategies to support positive mental health. Keep watching this space.

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