Social Determinants Of Mental Health

Authored by: Edilma L. Yearwood , Vicki P. Hines-Martin

Routledge Handbook of Global Mental Health Nursing

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  September  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138017610
eBook ISBN: 9781315780344
Adobe ISBN: 9781317702221


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Social determinants of health (SDH) are, circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age, and the absence or presence of systems available to deal with overall health and illness of its citizenry (WHO, 2008). Structural drivers are the circumstances that affect distribution of power; income; ability to obtain goods and services; ability to access health care and the ability to attend school to earn an education, with the knowledge that doing so has the potential to propel individuals out of low socio-economic status (WHO, 2008). Economics, politics and social policies are key drivers of environmental conditions that either support or impede healthy or unhealthy living conditions. Health and mental health are determined by multiple factors including individual characteristics, genetics, and the effects of SDH factors. SDH are increasingly recognized as modifiable and complex social factors that must be examined when looking at both protective factors and barriers to mental health and well-being. Cumulative exposure to negative SDH factors is known to take its toll on individuals and groups primarily in low- and middle-income communities.

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