Part 1: Common Frames

Part of being purposeful is being clear about what is meant by key elements in a strategy. It is also important when engaged in a collaborative endeavour. Because no single professional, sector or organization can create a comprehensive strategy for students’ positive mental health and health-enabling environments, it is important for participants to be watchful that they all either mean the same thing by a word or term they all use, or are clear about key differences in meaning.

It is especially important in this work of improving student mental health, since many of the underlying concepts are an evolution from the traditional focus on mental illness, disorders and addictions (the “1 in5”), to an integrated approach that embraces both these and positive mental health (the “5 in 5”).

This section of the toolkit provides the definition, terminology and assumptions used in developing this toolkit. Later sections provide information on the underlying mechanisms that are associated with positive mental health – important to being clear about the expected outcome of particular interventions and thus important to assessing the effectiveness of different parts of an overall strategy.