Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance
Mental Health Workgroup
Compared to other major chronic disease risk factors (alcohol use, unhealthy eating, physical inactivity and tobacco use), mental health is not as well-understood as a risk factor for chronic disease. Recognizing this, the Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (OCDPA) hosted a Systems Think Tank on Mental Health and Chronic Disease in February 2009 in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division and the Centre for Addition and Mental Health (refer to the Proceedings Report at http://www.ocdpa.on.ca/rpt_proceedings_MH_CDP.htm
The Systems Think Tank generated valuable suggestions for collective action from which priorities were identified, including:
Work towards a common vision for mental health & chronic disease prevention by developing an OCDPA statement on the importance of mental health promotion in the prevention of chronic disease, and identify activities where OCDPA can advance mental health & chronic disease prevention.
Subsequently, an OCDPA Mental Health Workgroup was established with an inaugural mandate to determine effective approaches to integrate mental health promotion as part of chronic disease prevention within the OCDPA membership.
As its foundational work, the group drafted a Mission Statement, which was endorsed by the OCDPA Partners and Members:
Our vision is that the OCDPA member organizations will understand the influence of mental health on chronic diseases, integrate that understanding into their frameworks, and take action to include mental health as a risk factor and to promote positive mental health as part of their chronic disease prevention activities.
In the longer term, OCDPA's Mental Health Workgroup will work towards:
Identifying ways to guide the integration of mental health into physical health
- Advising OCDPA members on effective practices to integrate mental health promotion into chronic disease messages & activities
- Seizing opportunities - including funding calls such as the Healthy Communities Fund - to expand mental health literacy* within CDP organizations
Positioning mental health on the chronic disease prevention agenda
- Opportunities - Provincial/National:
- Mental Health Commission of Canada
- Ontario's Mental Health & Addictions Strategy
- Obesity/HEAL Strategy
- Other chronic disease prevention strategies (Stroke, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, etc.)
Linking mental health messages to risk factors and chronic disease prevention
- OCDPA & Alberta Healthy Living Network "Common Messages"
This workgroup is co-chaired by CAMH and CMHA Ontario.
For further information, please contact:
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
*Mental health literacy: "...knowledge & skills that enable people to access, understand and apply information for mental health" (CAAMIMH, 2008).