Mental Health Promotion: A Lifespan Approach

By Mima Cattan; Sylvia Tilford | Go to book overview

1 Introduction

Mima Cattan

Mental health promotion is a fairly young discipline. When you explore the literature it becomes obvious that there is a great deal of debate and confusion around what constitutes ‘mental health’, ‘mental well-being’, ‘mental ill health’ and ‘mental illness’ and the differences between ‘mental health promotion’, and ‘mental ill health/illness prevention’. One of the World Health Organization's (WHO) definitions of mental health is: ‘a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community’ (World Health Organization 2001: 1).

The WHO also makes an attempt to distinguish between health promotion and prevention and suggests that:

Mental health promotion aims to promote positive mental health by increas-
ing psychological well-being, competence and resilience, and by creating
supporting living conditions and environments [while] … Mental disorder
prevention has as its target the reduction of symptoms and ultimately of men-
tal disorders. It uses mental health promotion strategies as one of the means
to achieve these goals. Mental health promotion when aiming to enhance
positive mental health in the community may also have the secondary
outcome of decreasing the incidence of mental disorders.

(World Health Organization 2004a: 17)

In this book we take a broad view of mental health and mental health promotion because in our opinion there are so many grey, overlapping areas that to try and restrict the definitions would ultimately reduce the value of the text. The purpose of the book is to provide a comprehensive text on mental health promotion practice using a lifespan approach. It is intended to demonstrate how health promotion principles and theory link with mental health promotion, and to provide examples of cross-cutting themes across the lifespan. Our starting point are the principles underpinning health promotion which emphasize, ‘holistic approaches to health, respect for diverse cultures and beliefs, promoting positive health as well as preventing ill-health, working at structural not just individual levels, using participatory method’ (Secker 1998: 57). However, as will be seen, these principles are far from universal in the practice of mental health promotion. In fact, some might argue that mental health promotion is moulded not by

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Mental Health Promotion: A Lifespan Approach
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Mental Health Promotion - A Lifespan Approach iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Figures, Tables and Boxes vi
  • List of Contributors viii
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • List of Abbreviations xvi
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • 2: What Is Mental Health? 8
  • 3: Mental Health Promotion 33
  • 4: Infancy and Childhood (0–5 Years and 6–12 Years) 64
  • 5: Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood (12–17 Years and 18–24 Years) 100
  • 6: Adulthood 137
  • 7: Older People 176
  • 8: Concluding Comments and the Future of Mental Health Promotion 214
  • Appendix 1 226
  • Appendix 2 228
  • Appendix 3 230
  • Glossary 232
  • Index 236
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