Don't Miss...

WEBINAR - Wellbeing Budgeting and Public Health: Promising Practice for Pandemic Recovery?
To watch the recording, click here.

Article - A Framework for Supporting Action in Population Mental Health
 725 K

Seminar - Promoting Population Mental Health and Wellbeing for Children and Youth - Innovative Approaches to Policy, Practice and Research

Population Mental Health in Canada: Summary of Emerging Needs and Orientations to Support the Public Health Workforce
 779 K

Population Mental Health in Canada: An Overview of the Context, Stakeholders and Initiatives to Support Action in Public Health
 657 K

Defining a Population Mental Health Framework for Public Health
 733 K

Scan of Mental Health Strategies across Canada

Advancing Population Mental Health
On the site of the Ontario Health Promotion e-Bulletin.

Framework for Healthy Public Policies Favouring Mental Health (HPP-FMH)
 766 K

Annotated Bibliography: Population Mental Health
567 K

Canadian Resources

Briefing Note: Review of Department of Finance Canada's
“Toward a Quality of Life Strategy for Canada”
Barrington-Leigh, C. (2021).

Positive mental health surveillance indicator Framework. Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention, Public Health Agency of Canada (2016).

Mental health promotion: Let's start speaking the same language. Watson, S. et McDonald, K.  Region of Waterloo Public Health & Emergency Services (2016).

Exploring Positive Mental Health.
Canadian Institute for Health Information. (2009). 
 1.87 MB

Mentally Healthy Communities: A collection of Papers.
Canadian Institute for Health Information. (2008).
 1.14 MB

Blogue Qualaxia
A site for discussing population mental health (in French)

International Resources

A special number of « La santé en action (Santé publique France) » on Promoting population mental health (Promouvoir la santé mentale de la population) (Available in French only). (March 2017).

Social determinants of mental health. UCL Institute of Health Equity. World Health Organization and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Geneva: World Health Organization (2014).  

The evidence of mental health promotion effectiveness: strategies for action. Promotion and Education. A special issue of IUHPE: Jané-Lopis, E., Barry, M., Hosman, C., Patel, V. (Eds.). Supplement – Hors série – Edición especial 2, 1-72. (2005).
 1.16 MB

Addressing the Determinants of Positive Mental Health: Concepts, Evidence and Practice. 11, 3. Barry, M. International journal of mental health promotion (2009).
 108 K

Foresight Mental Capital and Wellbeing Project Outputs
Final Project report. The Government Office for Science, London.
12.1 MB

Promoting Mental Health: Concepts, Emerging Evidence, Practice. Herrman, H., Saxena, S., & Moodie, R. (Eds). A Report of the World Health Organization, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Collaboration with the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation and University of Melbourne. Geneva: WHO (2005).
 923 K

Mental health, resilience and inequalities. Friedli, L. (2009). WHO Europe.
 459 K

Evidence-based mental health promotion resource. Keleher, H., & Armstrong, R. Report for the Department of Human Services and VicHealth, Melbourne (2005).

Wellbeing - Why it matters to health policy. Health is the top thing people say matters to their wellbeing. DH-UK (2014).

What you need to know about mental health inequalities. DH-Scotland (2010).

Whole series on wellbeing across the life course. Starting well- developing well- living well-working well-aging well-… DH-UK.

What Works Centre for Wellbeing (UK).

The UKs Faculty of public health website on better mental health for all (UK).


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Population Mental Health

In order to support public health actors across Canada in their work regarding population mental health, the NCCHPP is working in the area of population mental health. 

The NCCHPP's work is being developed around three major axes:

1. The contribution to a knowledge base on population mental health

2. A scan of mental health strategies on mental health in Canada

3. The identification, analysis and diffusion of strenghts, needs and roles of public health actors working in population mental health

Mental health is a resource for life and a necessary condition to live a life that is healthy, socially fulfilling and economically productive. It is more than the absence of disease; it consists of a state of ‘flourishing,' which is a combination of feeling good and functioning effectively most of the time. As such, mental health is not homogeneous. It can fluctuate, from a state of languishing to a state of flourishing. These fluctuations impact everyone's quality of life and general health: it impacts those who haven't received a diagnosis of mental disorder as well as those who may have already received one. In sum, there is no health without mental health. This simple statement reminds us that the broad definition of health proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) already included affective and psychological dimensions as well as a preoccupation for people's wellbeing.

Image de ballons d'hélium flottant dans le ciel ©

Improving mental health at population level implies numerous individual and collective advantages.

Interventions aiming at promoting mental health may not only contribute to reducing the prevalence and incidence of common mental disorders, but furthermore present the advantage of generating positive results in many spheres of life, even in the presence of a mental disorder.

Improvements in mental health are thus associated with improvements in physical health, healthy behaviours, productivity, success in school and education, relationships, employment and earnings, quality of life, less crime, improved conditions for early child development, etc.

The Canadian Mental Health Commission carried out important work which led in 2012 to a first national mental health strategy, Changing Directions, Changing Lives. Whether it is at the federal, provincial or local level, numerous policies, initiatives, programs or interventions join the Strategy's renewed perspective which aims at improving the mental health status of the whole population, keeping people from becoming mentally ill, and improving the quality of life of those living with a mental disorder; all the while necessarily acknowledging the complexity inherent in such projects.

Within this approach, all contacts between practitioners and the population are important and can be taken advantage of. The various actors from public health, health and mental health care, social services, community and associative milieus, and from other sectors (education, fiscal, work, transport, arts, etc.) can all be brought to intervene to promote the mental health of individuals and communities. For their part, public health actors at local and regional levels are becoming increasingly called-upon to:

  • Develop, integrate, implement and evaluate mental health promotion and mental disorder prevention interventions;

  • To do so while developing the necessary collaborations and partnerships with their partners.

Collaborative NCCPH project on population mental health

Since 2014, we have conducted many of our projects along the theme's different axes as collective projects along with the five other National Collaborating Centres for Public Health (NCCPH).

The project conducted in 2017-2018 under the theme Population mental health and wellness promotion: Clarifying the roles of public health was aimed at clarifying the roles of public health in population mental health and wellness promotion. In 2018, the NCCs, in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and the Mental Health Commission of Canada, built on previous work from the NCCHPP and the NCCs to host a national forum in order to examine the roles of public health in population mental health and wellness promotion. The PPT presentations and the documents related to this forum are now available on the NCCPH website.

The 2016-2017 collective project was entitled Population mental health promotion for children and youth and included topical papers, background information, and a resource scan.

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We would like to hear from you
Please send us a note to share your comments on our work, or to let us know about potential projects, ideas, interests, or new resources relating to population mental health.

The production of the NCCHPP website has been made possible through a financial contribution from the Public Health Agency of Canada.