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The social determinants of mental health 

The social determinants of mental health
Chapter:
The social determinants of mental health
Author(s):

Kamaldeep Bhui

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198792994.003.0019
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date: 28 November 2020

The social determinants include poverty; material deprivation; unemployment; poor housing, including exposure to hazardous or noisy or unsafe homes; gender disadvantage, poor educational opportunities, violence, social and cultural inequalities in opportunities; and exposures to adversity, including discrimination, stigma, and prejudice. Health-risk behaviours have been the traditional targets of intervention. Interventions need to be situated within broader policy action on multiple disadvantages that are especially troublesome, operating at the structural level in society, influencing institutions and patterning interpersonal and inter-group relations. Action on social determinants needs cross-sector agreement and commitment to operate in harmony, flexibly, tenaciously, and retaining the capacity to adapt to new contexts and sources of disadvantage. Applying such interventions early in the life course, in youth, and to parents will prevent the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage. Structural sources of poor health must be tackled, hence the importance of action to militate against the social determinants of poor health.

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