Best practices guide for mental health promotion programs: Children & Youth
A measure of the proportion of a population that can access appropriate health services. For example, cultural accessibility
considers whether access to health services is impeded by language or by cultural taboos, beliefs or values.
“Work that strengthens the capability of communities to develop their structures, systems, people and skills so that they
are better able to define and achieve their objectives, engage in consultation and planning, manage community projects and
take part in partnership. It includes aspects of training, organizational and personal development and resource building organized
in a planned and self-conscious manner reflecting the principles of empowerment and equality” (Skinner, 1997, quoted by Bush,
The collective efforts of communities directed toward increasing community control over the determinants of health, and thereby
improving the health status of the community as a whole.
“The interaction of organizational resources and social capital existing within a given community that can be leveraged to
solve collective problems and improve or maintain the well-being of that community. Community capacity may operate through
formal social processes and/or organized efforts by individuals, organizations and social networks that exist among them,
and between them and the larger systems of which the community is a part” (Chaskin & Brown, 1996).
Any action that engages community members with the potential to transform local conditions in a positive way. Community development
should emphasize the building of social relationships and communication networks, and contribute to the social well-being
of community members.
Community health education (or health education in the community)
Community health education is concerned not only with the communication of information, but also with fostering life skills,
confidence and overall community health.
Community needs assessment
A process used to document community needs, concerns or issues in consultation with all parts of the community.
Determinants of health
These are based on the understanding that health is determined by complex interactions between social and economic factors,
the physical environment and individual behaviour. Most of the time, the term refers to non-lifestyle factors such as income,
shelter, peace, food and employment.
Equity in health status is the presence of the same levels of health, even between groups with different levels of socio-economic
status (wealth, power or prestige). Inequities in health are differences in health status between groups of people that correspond
to their respective levels of social advantage or disadvantage.
Healthy public policy
Healthy public policy is characterized by explicit attention to health and equity in all areas of policy development, including
non–health sector policies. Healthy public policy should be a collective effort across sectors, directed at creating healthy
social and physical environments (World Health Organization [WHO], 1988).
A broad range of initiatives including services, information, programs, campaigns, strategies, research and evaluation.
The social, political, environmental or biological conditions that are associated with, or cause, increased susceptibility
to a specific disease, ill health or injury (Nutbeam, 1998). Risk conditions (e.g., substandard housing) are usually a result
of unhealthy public policy and may be modified through collective action and social reform (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2002).
Social support networks
Help available to individuals from friends, family, co-workers and others within communities that can provide a buffer against
adverse life events and living conditions, and can provide a positive resource for enhancing quality of life (Nutbeam, 1998).
Best practice guidelines for mental health promotion programs: Children and Youth