The Northwestern Health Unit is looking forward to focusing more on mental health promotion and the social determinants of health, part of their new standards.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care released the new Ontario Public Health Standards earlier in the year, that health units across the province are expected to adopt.
Dr. Kit Young-Hoon, Medical Officer of Health at the health unit, details a few of the changes.
“Public health is still about looking at the health of the entire population. The focus is very much on making sure people don’t get sick so they don’t have to go seek medical help. The new Ontario Public Health Standards have been enhanced in a number of ways. There is stronger language and guidance for health equity. There’s also some new components, including mental health promotion. It’s directly relevant to our region. It’s now an official part of our mandate. The new standards align very well with our strategic plan at the Northwestern Health Unit,” she said.
Young-Hoon then explained what mental health promotion encompasses.
“When we think about mental health promotion, there’s a number of aspects that go into that. One of them is about addressing the social factors of health. Income, housing, unemployment, education, early childhood development and social inclusion are key factors in determining mental health wellness and well-being,” she added.
The health unit is also taking aim at reducing the use of addictive substances for youth in the region, with new prevention and policy initiatives.
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Connecting youth to the community