[Mental Health: Concepts, Measures, Determinants].

Title[Mental Health: Concepts, Measures, Determinants].
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsDoré I, Caron J.
JournalSante Ment Que
Date PublishedSpring 2017

Objectives This article aims to situate the concept of mental health in a historical perspective. This article presents the most commonly used measurement tools in Canada and elsewhere in the world to assess specific and multiple dimensions of mental health; when available, psychometric properties are discussed. Finally, research findings on quality of life and mental health determinants are presented.Methods A literature review of concepts, measurement and determinants of mental health is presented in this paper. The selection of measurement scales presented is based on the findings of the research reports conducted by the second author, an expert on mental health measures, for Health Canada and Statistics Canada.Results Mental health is more than the absence of mental illness; rather it is a state of complete well-being, which refers to our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. Accordingly, mental health and mental illness are not extremes of the same continuum, but distinct yet correlated concepts. The traditional conceptualization suggesting that mental health represents simply the absence of mental illness has been replaced, in the last few decades, by a more holistic characterization, which directly concerns public health. The components of mental health include emotional well-being/quality of life (QOL) and psychological and social well-being. Mental health influences the personal and social functioning of individuals, justifying the importance of intervening upstream to promote mental health. Specific scales are relevant for obtaining a detailed measure of one aspect of well-being in particular (emotional/quality of life, psychological or social well-being); however, to account for the global mental health status, measurement tools that integrate all three forms of well-being (emotional, psychological and social) should be privileged. A diversity of determinants at the individual, social and neighbourhood levels influence quality of life and well-being. These determinants are interrelated, and the complex and cumulative interaction of these determinants involves the use of comprehensive strategies for mental health promotion.Conclusion We hope this article provides the reader with information to become familiar with the concepts and tools that aim at informing research, public health surveillance, public policy and programs for mental health promotion.

Alternate JournalSante Ment Que
PubMed ID28792565