Back to top

Mental Health Promotion

A. Introduction

The fact that this feature is about "mental health promotion" may highlight that its activities have not yet been integrated within the accepted frameworks of health promotion - we still seem to operate

within the "mind-body-spirit" split of our society and its institutions, policies and strategies. There may be many community projects which enhance mental health but they may not be identified under this term. There are treatment interventions within the psychiatric field which are called "promoting mental health" and, in many cases the term is a euphemism for "mental illness". In some cases, practitioners feel that attention to the prevention and promotion aspects will further detract from resources for people who are living with long-term mental health problems and the social conditions that are anything but health promoting.

And, it may be that the health promotion definitions and frameworks are meant to assume the realm of mental health, but this is not always explicit. The 1988 federal document "Mental Health for Canadians: Striking A Balance" acknowledged the lack of attention to mental health in the "Achieving Health for All" report. Specifically, the term "mental health promotion" is an emerging field - there is lack of consensus on the essence of mental health, but more and more people are paying attention to the conditions that affect our physical, mental and spiritual health within the context of our living conditions. Mental health promotion and health promotion are oriented toward building strengths, resources, knowledge and assets for positive health in communities - as the resources, events and of this bulletin show.

- Peggy Schultz []

Following the announcement of this week s topic Mental Health Promotion, several submissions and resources were received. Of interest for future developments is the following note:

"I noted you're looking for input on your bulletin on mental health promotion. I am about to begin a contract on that very issue focusing on policy development at the provincial levels and community progress to date on delivery, needs assessment tools, programming and other non-statistical information. I have yet to finalize the specific details on the focus, but that is the goal."

David Gourlay

Social Policy Analyst (Health Promotion)

11 Riopelle Court; Kanata, Ontario K2K 1J2

(613) 592-8705


David Gourlay was unable to provide more information at this time, as he is extremely busy running in the municipal elections, for school board trustee, and the vote is Monday, Nov. 10th. We look forward to hearing more in the future and good luck to him in a challenging time and position!

| * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * |


A Workshop on "SPIRITUALITY AND MENTAL HEALTH PROMOTION" is to be held THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, University of Toronto.

Specific details are being finalized for this event which is sponsored by the Mental Health Promotion Interest Group of the Centre for Health Promotion. Please call the Centre for Health Promotion (416)978-1809, FAX: (416) 971-1365 to request an invitation and further information.

The above event is an example of some of the work of the MENTAL HEALTH PROMOTION INTEREST GROUP at the Centre for Health Promotion which is chaired by Nancy Craig. The Mental Health Interest Group is a forum for exploring definitions of mental health promotion and identifying various themes and perspectives in this area. Participants come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

Again, please contact the Centre for more information about how to get involved (whether or not you are in the immediate vicinity of Toronto).

Submitted by Peggy Schultz []

| * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * |


"The SELF-HELP RESOURCE CENTRE, an affiliate of the Centre for Health Promotion at the University of Toronto, houses an extensive library of resources and research on self-help strategies with many issues, including mental health. The Centre also keeps listings of more than 550 self-help/support groups in Toronto, and more than 50 of these groups deal specifically with mental health issues; groups for anxiety, parents, depression, mpd, fears and phobias, unemployment, consumer/survivor initiatives, women, obsessive compulsion etc". Documents available through the centre include: How to Start and Maintain a Group, Does Self-Help Help: A Review of the Effectiveness of Self-Help Strategies and a guide to developing a community self-help/health promotion fair.

Through OSHNET, the network of self-help centres in Ontario, the centre can also provide listings of mental health self-help groups in Owen Sound, Algoma, Kingston, Ottawa, Hamilton, Cochrane District, Nipissing, Waterloo and many other communities. Funded by the Health Promotion Branch of the Ministry of Health, OSHNET staff also provide training and resources in

developing, maintaining and evaluating groups as vital "supportive environments".

In collaboration with the Centre for Health Promotion, OSHNET/SHRC recently hosted the first symposium exploring research and evaluation on self-help strategies in Ontario. Building on this work, a new network of researchers exploring self-help is in development.

For more information about groups, programs or research, call the Centre's info line at (416) 487-4355 or email

Submitted by

Jennifer Poole []

Provincial Co-ordinator

Self-Help Resource Centre

| * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * |


Because of the recent Click4HP [list-serv on Health Promotion] postings on the deaths in Toronto this fall - we are reminded of the relationship of housing, income security, emotional and physical well-being as determinants of health. Homelessness and mental health have long been

neglected as significant issues for health promotion. [ed note]

From Lorraine Telford []


At a conference on Monday November 3rd, which examined Mental Illness and Homelessness, Don Wasylenki from the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, with many colleagues, presented findings of a study looking at MI and Homelessness. The main finding, which is a NEW finding (compared to several other similar but "less superior" studies) was that mental illness is NOT a predisposing factor to homelessness (in general). Yes, there are mentally ill persons with no home, but they are there because of social problems leading to financial and other supports breaking down. Most other homeless persons do not have mental illness. Loss of a job or

unaffordable housing is the number one reason for being on the street. The study found that the roots of homelessness are most often found in childhood - many homeless persons were victims of childhood sexual or physical abuse, compounded by poor education, few social skills and few family and friends to rely on.

The project was funded by the Donner Canadian Foundation, with additional support from the Clarke Foundation.

For more information on this study and fact sheets on homelessness with the 'faces of homelessness' contact:

The Communications Department

Clarke Institute of Psychiatry

Tel. 416-979-6816 Fax 416-979-6902

| * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * |


Stephanie Wilken would like to share a web site on mental health

promotion: Homewood Health Care Centre

This site discusses the services at the Homewood Health Care Centre in Guelph, Ontario. Services centred on behavioural, addiction and psychiatric illness ranging from health promotion and prevention to relapse prevention..

[from the site:]

The Homewood Health group of companies includes:

* Homewood Health Centre - a 312-bed in-patient assessment and treatment for individuals with mental illness or addiction.

* Homewood Behavioural Health Corporation - out-patient behavioural health care services including Employee Assistance Programs, smoking cessation, programs for problem drinking, and telephone-based counselling for a range of conditions and problems. To contact Homewood

Behavioural Health e-mail

Homewood Health offers a broad range of services, including:

* specialized in-patient treatment programs;

* specialized out-patient treatment programs;

* independent assessments;

* psychiatric, psychological, and personal counselling;

* face-to-face and telephone-based behaviour management programs;

* customized behavioural programs.

For information about Homewood Health, please call 519-824-1010, fax 519-824-1827, or write to 150 Delhi St., Guelph, Ontario, Canada, N1E 6K9.

Submitted by

Stephanie Wilken, BA

Wellness & Lifestyle Educator

Guelph, Ontario