Pia Solin M.Soc.Sc                      University of Tampere             National Institute for Health and Welfare       ...
Mental health promotion in                   policymakingThis presentation aims to raise discussion• what kind of health i...
Background: The problematic                nature of mental health• What is mental health?⇒ Lack of common system of ideas...
Health promotion policy documents             argue mental health to be:• a public health challenge• an economic and socie...
Health policy documents also discuss            mental health from various                    perspectivesThey use:• polit...
The perspectives are used to activate                 policymaking by:1. Acting as tools   •     To ensure the widest rang...
Evaluation is an important                   phase of policymaking•      As a health issue it is problematic in many      ...
If mental health is such a complex                  issue/target, can it be evaluated?•  It is difficult due to the lack o...
Promoting mental health (and                 health) is always a political issue• Policy and programme decisions are too o...
Why conduct research on mental                    health policy?         It does•   help us understand what kind of policy...
Thank you for your attention!             Thank You!20/10/2011    Pia Solin National Institute for Health                 ...
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The uniqueness of mental health as a health promotion issue, Pia Solin M.Soc.Sc ; University of Tampere, National Institute for Health and Welfare

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Nfhk2011 pia solin_parallel19

  1. 1. Pia Solin M.Soc.Sc University of Tampere National Institute for Health and Welfare The uniqueness of mental health as a health promotion issue Nordic Public Health Conference 24.-26.8. Turku Finland20/10/2011 Pia Solin National Institute for Health and Welfare pia.solin@thl.fi
  2. 2. Mental health promotion in policymakingThis presentation aims to raise discussion• what kind of health issue and target mental health isfrom policymaking perspective• how mental health is constructed in various nationalhealth policy documents and texts• what special features has to be acknowledged whenmental health policy is designed and carried out20/10/2011 Pia Solin National Institute for Health and Welfare pia.solin@thl.fi
  3. 3. Background: The problematic nature of mental health• What is mental health?⇒ Lack of common system of ideas, concepts, definitions andindicators for monitoring the state of mental health• Mental health is affected in many levels and settings• Past decades health promotion had a lower status (vs curingillness). Furthermore, it tend to focus on physical health• Stigma of mental illness• Lack of integration within overall health policy? → Interest in research of health policy documents with qualitative methods20/10/2011 Pia Solin National Institute for Health and Welfare pia.solin@thl.fi
  4. 4. Health promotion policy documents argue mental health to be:• a public health challenge• an economic and societal burden• a part of overall health• a factor which affect quality of life and human burden• a problematic issue - the problem of definition - the problem of measurement, indicators and data - the problem of care20/10/2011 Pia Solin National Institute for Health and Welfare pia.solin@thl.fi
  5. 5. Health policy documents also discuss mental health from various perspectivesThey use:• political perspective, which consists of – the public health epidemiology perspective – the preventive action perspective – the everyday perspective – the reflective perspective20/10/2011 Pia Solin National Institute for Health and Welfare pia.solin@thl.fi
  6. 6. The perspectives are used to activate policymaking by:1. Acting as tools • To ensure the widest range of recipients2. Giving additional information • To widen the perspective • To point out that there are no easy solutions3. Justifying the actions proposed • To ensure that the measures suggested are thoroughly considered for everyone’s best interest 20/10/2011 Pia Solin National Institute for Health and Welfare pia.solin@thl.fi
  7. 7. Evaluation is an important phase of policymaking• As a health issue it is problematic in many ways• In the policy documents it is discussed with several manners of speech (perspectives)• How this affects on evaluation phase? How can such a complex issue/target be evaluated? 20/10/2011 Pia Solin National Institute for Health and Welfare pia.solin@thl.fi
  8. 8. If mental health is such a complex issue/target, can it be evaluated?• It is difficult due to the lack of sufficient time and appropriate data. Also the target was often unsuitable.• Suicide presents the most popular mental health target – It is measurable, accurate and simple• However, it is a poor indicator of the nation’s state of mental health 20/10/2011 Pia Solin National Institute for Health and Welfare pia.solin@thl.fi
  9. 9. Promoting mental health (and health) is always a political issue• Policy and programme decisions are too often based on other reasons than scientific evidence• Policymakers have limited resources and obligation in pleasing voters, → use of targets and measurement of outcomes which are quick and easily quantifiable.⇒ Measuring what is easy may lead ignoring what is valuable• Even though in the long run; everyone benefits from knowing what will work, what needs modifying and which efforts are worthless 20/10/2011 Pia Solin National Institute for Health and Welfare pia.solin@thl.fi
  10. 10. Why conduct research on mental health policy? It does• help us understand what kind of policy issue mental health is. We already know it is a delicate and complex area• point out the weaker areas of mental health policy making ⇒ implementation, evaluation, especially the link between research and policymakers• how mental health is valued compared to other health issues?• at its best it may lead into better designing of mental health policy making, better execution and finally into better mental health of the population20/10/2011 Pia Solin National Institute for Health and Welfare pia.solin@thl.fi
  11. 11. Thank you for your attention! Thank You!20/10/2011 Pia Solin National Institute for Health and Welfare pia.solin@thl.fi

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