Being active to stay fit ... mentally!
Mental health promotion and common mental disorder prevention interventions may apply several well-recognized strategies. Noteworthy among them are strategies that foster the development of public policies and the creation of supportive environments for mental health, that strengthen community action and that support the acquisition of personal skills. These interventions can be global, focusing on several key determinants of mental health, or they can be specific, focusing on only one of these elements; they can also address the population as a whole, a specific age group, or a vulnerable sub-group. Encouraging physical activity is one mental health promotion and mental disorder prevention strategy among many others and can use the various strategies mentioned.
The development of interventions and programs that rely on physical activity to promote mental health and prevent common mental disorders must take into account the main findings and recommendations that are in the literature. It seems essential to prioritize the development of a culture of active recreation in which fun or enjoyment is a key component and to foster physical activity in a social context. Being more active … but more importantly, doing so with others and with pleasure!
The TOPO collection may be found at www.inspq.qc.ca/english/topo.