Over the last two days at “The Social Determinants of Urban Mental Health: Paving the Way Forward,” the Adler School of Professional Psychology Institute on Social Exclusion (ISE) brought together the world’s leading minds on the social determinants of mental health to discuss the many ways in which city living can affect the mental well-being of urban residents, particularly the most vulnerable.
With experts, researchers, and thought leaders meeting, discussing, and engaging with content that calls for researchers to pay more attention to how social conditions such as poverty, violence and isolation in many urban areas can harm the mental health of underserved individuals and communities, they are than helping to address the needs of half of the world’s population that lives in cities.
Professor Sir Michael G. Marmot’s opening words, only a snapshot of his pioneering work over the last 35 years, encouraged attendees to think differently and know that the purpose of researching the social determinants of urban mental health is social justice, and the role of researchers is to provide practical steps.
Those practical steps come with groundbreaking work, and all of our conference speakers are doing just that. From Jane Isaacs Lowe‘s extraordinary dedication to work with vulnerable populations with the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation to how our nutrition increases risk in mental health from the inspiring, pioneering Dr. Alex Richardson, there was powerful knowledge shared.
ISE Executive Director Dr. Lynn Todman, Vice President for Leadership in Social Justice at the Adler School and a prominent U.S. expert on the link between public policies and the mental health of urban communities, closed the conference with a special edition workshop around her work with the Mental Health Impact Assessment.
Exciting conversations took place in the room and online about the research, practice and insights presented—and it’s critical that they continue.
Of the many, many thought-provoking statements we heard over the last two days, one that continues to resonate is from Dr. Marmot in his opening address: Our purpose must be one of social justice; our role is to provide practical steps.
In your own important work: How will you fulfill that role?