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Advancing Social Determinants of Mental Health

  • October 30, 2023
  • Diversity News and Updates
Jordan White headshot

By Jordan White, Dr.PH., M.S., Director, Social Determinants of Mental Health at the American Psychiatric Association.

As the inaugural Director of Social Determinants of Mental Health (SDoMH), I am looking forward to working with APA members to advance these efforts. There is an urgent need to address the complex mental health and behavioral health challenges facing the U.S. and other nations. This is demonstrated by the myriad of increasing rates of negative mental health outcomes across populations globally.

APA has a strong commitment to supporting legislation, policies and educational initiatives that promote mental health equity.

Social determinants of health approaches require health equity in all policies and must be adapted to specific national or local contexts to achieve significant impact. The evidence base on social determinants suggests that policy makers from multiple sectors, cross-disciplinary research teams and longitudinal studies (e.g., registry-linked, large cohort or panel) are imperative for expanding our knowledge of mental health inequalities and mental health inequities.

Strategies for action on SDoMH must acknowledge the role of life course perspectives and the need for multi-sector engagement to promote mental health equity. There are numerous determinants that are risks to mental health across settings. Ultimately, social determinants approaches seek to promote and create the conditions for people to have control over their lives.

Advancing SDoMH provides an opportunity to reimagine mental health promotion, prevention, treatment and maintenance. Through this work future generations may live healthier lives.

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