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Lecture 5

HLTA02H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Major Depressive Episode, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Postpartum Depression

Health Studies
Course Code
Michelle Silver

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Foundation in health studies- HLTB03
Lecture 5- mental health/ Social Determinants of health
How is your health? People will interpret this question differently. Could make it
more specific, how you feel today, or last year, or the time frame. Very subjective:
could be influenced by weather, or if something unfortunate or fortunate
happened. In general, studies show that self-measures of health has been
correlated with whether or not they die. This Assessment is as good, or better
than the doctors assessment.
You have to be very specific in the question and setting out a time frame for
Health: state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not just the
absence of disease or illness. Includes social, economic, and physical
environmental factors that contribute to health.
Mental health: realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of
life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his
or her community.
Approx.: 20%: mental health problems
2%: severe mental illness
12%: major depressive episode over lifetime
5%: major depressive episode annually.
Direct Costs:
Hospital stays
Visits with psychologists
Visits with social workers
Indirect Costs: difficult to quantify these. Difficult to get back into the labor
Lost productivity
Reduced quality of life : where you start to quantify it. Don’t go out, or
a different life style- unclear.
Non-institutional treatments: having care givers, family members,
who are not being paid for their time.
Mental health policy in Canada: each province deals differently.
Emphasis on:
Mental health promotion
Prevention of mental disorders
Protection of human rights and freedoms
Community care
Coordination of care
e.g. there is lack of clarity whether there are straight forward criminal

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activity, or whether it’s a mental disorder, and should be treated differently.
The sociology of mental illness and mental health:
Trans-institutionalizations: shifting the mentally ill from one institution to another.
Out onto the streets or into a jail/ prison. Then released, not get treatment, then
go to the streets, police and jail: like a cycle.
For a community that promotes mental health, they can address the issues to the
police force, to avoid the trans-instititionizations.
Myths of mental illness :
Mentally ill are violent and dangerous : but most of the time they are
inflicting pain on themselves. The media tends to focus on it, e.g. movies
Mental people are poor and/or less intelligent : on average are no less
intelligent than people who do not have mental illness, depending on the
disorder. There is no correlation to being mentally ill and less intelligent
Caused by a personal weakness
Mental illness is a single, rare disorder: but there are many different
types of mental illness. E.g. depression and ADHD.
Social Determinants: “The social determinants of health are the conditions in
which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including the health system.
These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and
resources at global, national and local levels. The social determinants of health
are mostly responsible for health inequities - the unfair and avoidable differences
in health status seen within and between countries.”
- Variable factors; e.g. income. There are distinctions between
- Education level: getting a college degree is correlated to a higher
- Stressors associated with being poor, and there is a strong connection
with being worried and being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Depression: sad, despairing mood that:
- Is present most days and lasts most of the day
- Lasts for more than 2 weeks: Chronic
- Impairs the person’s performance at work, at school or in social
Other symptoms:
Changes in appetite and weight
Sleep problems
Loss of interest in work, hobbies, people or sex
Withdrawal from family members and friends
Feeling useless, hopeless, excessively guilty, pessimistic or low self-
Agitation or feeling slowed down
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