According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, mental health is “the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity” (Public Health Agency of Canada, Mental Health Promotion).
Factors that can strengthen mental health include adequate housing, vibrant communities, nurturing relationships and resilience. Community design can shape social inclusion, strengthen supportive social networks, and provide access to physical activity and healthy eating options.
Elements that promote mental health include: adequate income and socio-economic status, meaningful employment, social inclusion and access to supportive social networks, higher levels of education and literacy, positive early childhood experiences, reduced violence (physical and psychological security), healthy behaviours, and housing and the built environment.
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