According to the World Health Organization, social determinants of health are “Nonmedical factors that influence health outcomes. They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. These forces and systems include economic policies and systems, development agendas, social norms, social policies, and political systems.” In other words, social determinants of health refer to how a person’s environment – from their family and neighborhood all the way up to the larger society they belong to – affects their health.
In recent years, more research has been done specifically looking at the social determinants of mental health, with some focused on how environmental and societal factors influence children in particular.
Below are three excellent resources to help you gain a deeper understanding of these factors:
This comprehensive 2022 resource document from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) was created as a guide for psychiatrists, but contains a lot of facts, information, and research about the social determinants of mental health specific to children and youth that may be of interest to other mental health providers, parents, child-serving professionals from other fields, anyone seeking to better understand these factors.
Published in the journal Current Psychiatry Reports, Issue 23 (2021), authors Obianuju O. Berry, MD (NYU), Amalia Londono Tobon, MD (Brown University), and Wanjiku F.M. Njoroge, MD (UPenn) review recent research focusing on the impact of racism on infant and early childhood mental health and socioemotional development.