Report 6/2014
Social Determinants of Mental Health by UCL Institute of Health Equity

Social Determinants of Mental Health

.pdfSocial Determinants of Mental Health

This report was written by the UCL Institute of Health Equity and published by the World Health Organization and the Gulbenkian Foundation.

Its key messages are as follows:

  • Mental health and many common mental disorders are shaped to a great extent by the social, economic, and physical environments in which people live.
  • Social inequalities are associated with increased risk of many common mental disorders.
  • Taking action to improve the conditions of daily life from before birth, during early childhood, at school age, during family building and working ages, and at older ages provides opportunities both to improve population mental health and to reduce the risk of those mental disorders that are associated with social inequalities.
  • While comprehensive action across the life course is needed, scientific consensus is considerable that giving every child the best possible start will generate the greatest societal and mental health benefits.
  • Action needs to be universal: across the whole of society, and proportionate to need in order to level the social gradient in health outcomes.
  • This paper highlights effective actions to reduce risk of mental disorders throughout the life course, at the community level and at the country level. It includes environmental, structural, and local interventions. Such actions to prevent mental disorders are likely to promote mental health in the population.

The full report is available to download above.