More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas. According to the United Nations, that figure is projected to grow to more than 60 percent by 2050.
Although cities provide services and amenities that promote good mental health, they also create conditions such as poverty, conflict and social isolation that can harm mental health and well-being. In fact, research demonstrates that city living is linked to increased risk for a range of mental health problems.
The Adler School of Professional Psychology and its Institute on Social Exclusion will host hundreds of medical and mental health care professionals, government officials, scholars, and philanthropists in Chicago this fall for a global conference to discuss the ways that cities impact the mental health of urban residents.
“The Social Determinants of Urban Mental Health: Paving the Way Forward” takes place Sept. 20 and 21, at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, 540 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. For details and conference registration, visit adler.edu/conference.
The conference will examine the new and exciting research, practices and policies on urban conditions that affect population well-being. Such social determinants of mental health include air quality, housing, public safety, proximity to food and open spaces such as parks, and access to public services such as sanitation, education, health and transportation.
Invited speakers will discuss how these social determinants impact city dwellers’ mental health, and will provide insights into how government and philanthropic bodies are integrating social determinants thinking into their work. Speakers will share new research findings and emerging tools, practices, and processes that can help narrow mental health inequities and promote the positive mental health and well-being of urban populations.
Michael G. Marmot, Ph.D., a leading scholar on global health inequalities, will give the keynote presentation. Marmot is director of the University College London Institute of Health Equity (Marmot Institute), and chair of the European Review on the Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide. His pioneering work over the last 35 years continues advancing collective understanding of the social causation of health inequalities.
Plenary presenters will be:
- Sarah Curtis, D.Phil., a professor of health and risk at the University of Durham, United Kingdom. She is an internationally recognized specialist in the geography of health who focuses on the geographical dimensions of health and health care inequalities. Her work examines how and why varying geographical settings relate to human health inequalities.
- Kwame McKenzie, M.D., Medical Director at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at the University of Toronto. A psychiatrist, policy adviser andsenior scientist in social equity and health research, he is a leading expert on the social causes of psychosis, social capital, and the impact of racism on mental health.
At a post-conference workshop, Lynn Todman, Ph.D., executive director of the Institute on Social Inclusion and a leading American expert on social determinants of mental health, will facilitate discussion on the institute’s Mental Health Impact Assessment (MHIA) project.
The first-of-its-kind project examined the recent proposed revision to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Policy Guidance on Consideration of Arrest in Employment Decisions. Designed to engage urban communities in addressing social determinants of mental health, the MHIA focused on the revision’s potential impact on the mental health and well-being of residents of Chicago’s underserved Englewood community.
The MHIA process, which has attracted attention from researchers, community leaders and policy makers throughout the United States and abroad, expands on established health impact assessment (HIA) practice by more explicitly integrating mental health considerations. As a preventive practice, MHIA can help ensure that legislation, policy, and other public decisions reflect an understanding of their implications for the mental health of vulnerable communities.
For more information about “The Social Determinants of Urban Mental Health: Paving the Way Forward” or the Adler School’s Institute on Social Exclusion and its MHIA project, visit adler.edu/ISE or email ISE@adler.edu.
About the Adler School
The Adler School of Professional Psychology has provided quality education through a scholar/practitioner model for 60 years. The School’s mission is to train socially responsible graduates who continue the visionary work of Alfred Adler throughout the world. The Adler School offers 13 graduate-level programs enrolling more than 1,000 students at its campuses in Chicago and Vancouver, British Columbia, and through Adler Online.
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