11. Promotion of Mental Health and Prevention of Mental Illness

  1. Felicity Callard1,
  2. Norman Sartorius2,
  3. Julio Arboleda-Flórez3,
  4. Peter Bartlett4,
  5. Hanfried Helmchen5,
  6. Heather Stuart3,
  7. Jose Taborda6 and
  8. Graham Thornicroft1

Published Online: 17 APR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781119945352.ch11

Mental Illness, Discrimination and the Law: Fighting for Social Justice

Mental Illness, Discrimination and the Law: Fighting for Social Justice

How to Cite

Callard, F., Sartorius, N., Arboleda-Flórez, J., Bartlett, P., Helmchen, H., Stuart, H., Taborda, J. and Thornicroft, G. (2012) Promotion of Mental Health and Prevention of Mental Illness, in Mental Illness, Discrimination and the Law: Fighting for Social Justice, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781119945352.ch11

Author Information

  1. 1

    Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK

  2. 2

    Association for the Improvement of Mental Health Programmes, Geneva, Switzerland

  3. 3

    Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

  4. 4

    School of Law and Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham, UK

  5. 5

    Charité – University Medicine Berlin, Germany

  6. 6

    Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, Brazil

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 APR 2012
  2. Published Print: 13 APR 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781119953548

Online ISBN: 9781119945352



  • mental health promotion;
  • preventing mental illness;
  • public health;
  • social inequalities


We emphasise that promotion and prevention activities must address social inequalities and inequalities in the prevalence and distribution of mental health problems across and within populations. Legislation that supports and upholds prevention and promotion activities can play an important role in combating social injustice. We further note that legislation in a variety of spheres can contribute to the prevention of mental illness and the promotion of mental health (e.g. legislation that addresses incitements to hatred or violence against people with disabilities; anti-discrimination legislation; social protection guarantees; and children's rights and protection legislation). We emphasise how mental health promotion experts are calling on policy-makers and legislators to assess the mental health impact of any new policy or legislative intervention. There is a need for more countries to consider legislation that specifically addresses biological risk factors for mental illness, as well as for multi-sectoral legislative and administrative actions to promote mental health and prevent mental illness.