The Micro-mental health journeys
A person’s positive mental health journeys occur at different scales. The Life Journey is an important macro-journey at the scale of an individual. So a strategy can be refined based on the developmental stage and range of histories of those individuals who are the target of change. There are also patterns at the life scale of an organization or community, which can be instructive to designing strategies for those scales.
Understanding the patterns and underlying mechanisms of a person’s positive mental health at the human level are covered in Part 2 of the toolkit: Tools for Grounding Strategies in the Student Experience, specifically Diversity in Capacity and Capabilities, Readiness to Change and Student mental health journey scenarios – Starter Set.
Underlying the patterns seen at the human and life level are a set of micro-journeys – those that are seen using research instruments that can track living systems. Because our research instruments have traditionally been able only to view body systems when they were static (i.e. dead), the development of these new types of instruments, such as functional MRI, is supporting new learning in fields such as biopsychology, neuroscience and social neuroscience. This type of instrumentation and research also supports collaboration among different fields of research – such as physicists, engineers, computer scientists and biologists developing an integrated understanding of complex neurological processes.
Three micro-journeys are described briefly, because they give pointers for refining health-promoting strategies to be more purposeful, and to improve the ability to choose metrics that measure what is really being targeted with a strategy. Deep understanding of these micro-journeys is beyond the scope of this toolkit and would require further exploration.