Social conditions and our mental health

May 1, 2017

As unions, we take a social and political approach to mental health and mental illness. Mental illnesses can be influenced or made worse by stress, insecurity, social exclusion, lack of housing, and other factors.

Health is about more than health care. Of course, access to quality health care is important. But the overall health of populations depends a lot more on social factors. The more money people have, the healthier they are. The more access to healthy and affordable food, the more likely people are to be healthy. Stable employment, good working conditions, education and affordable housing all contribute to physical and mental health. These are called the “social determinants of health.”

We support and promote a social and political model of mental health. Everyone can help contribute to better mental health by working on improving social conditions.

10 social determinants of health:

  1. Income and income distribution
  2. Employment and working conditions
  3. Unemployment and job security
  4. Adequate and affordable housing
  5. Food insecurity
  6. Social identity like race, culture, ability, sexual orientation, age, class and gender identity.
  7. Access to early childhood development and education
  8. Social exclusion
  9. A working social safety net
  10. Access to appropriate health services

For more information on social determinants of health:
Social Determinants of Health – An Introduction
Social Determinants of Health – The Canadian Facts