Preventing common mental disorders – a public mental health perspective
- Michell Rich
MENTAL HEALTH AND SOCIETY LECTURE SERIES
Friday, February 26, 2021
by Dr. Carl D’Arcy, Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan. The talk is entitled, “Preventing common mental disorders – a public mental health perspective”.
Mental disorders take a major toll, economically, socially, and psychologically, on individuals, families, and societies. Prevention provides an important and realistic opportunity to overcome these major health problems and reduced their impact. We outline a conceptual framework for mental health prevention and for effective strategies and programs for the prevention of mental disorders. Risk and protective factors for mental illnesses provide leverage points for prevention interventions. A life course perspective, looking at disease from conception, pregnancy, parenting, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood to aging, emphasizes the importance of targeting prevention efforts as early as possible in life. There are currently available effective and realistic preventions targeting major phases of life including both universal (community) and selective high-risk approaches. The internet and its associated technologies are also seen to have great potential for prevention. Common mental disorders are preventable. Though the evidence base for the prevention of mental disorders needs to be expanded with rigorous large scale pragmatic trials of promising effective programs, we have at our disposal strong evidence and effective tools on which to base prevention efforts. These facts need to be fully communicated to providers, policy makers and the population at large, and acted upon.