There is still several debates about the nature of mental wellbeing and mental health conditions.
People debate how much is due to ‘nature’ (i.e. genetic and other biological factors) and how much is due to nurture (i.e. our upbringing and life experiences).
They also debate how much is related to our personal choices and how much is due to forces in our social environments beyond our control.
Nowadays most mental health experts recognise that biology and social environments are both important in shaping us.
They also acknowledge that how our life unfolds depends on our own personal decisions and actions but also on the social circumstances in which we live and develop.
We are all born with a unique genetic blueprint, but our genes are not static, and they can switch on and off depending on external influences in our social environments. We know that a child or adolescent who is surrounded by persistent conflict or family violence is going to be at greater risk of poor mental wellbeing than another child growing up in a more harmonious family environment. But we also know that children or teens raised in the same circumstances can go on to become very different people and live very different lives.
We are not just passively shaped by internal and external forces. We all have the ability to influence our environment – and the way our genes operate – through our decisions and behaviours.
Prevention United therefore uses a dual track approach.
- We assist individuals to enhance their resilience and take steps to promote their own personal mental wellbeing; and
- We work with organisations, communities and governments, to tackle negative social norms and promote positive public policies, so that we can create more mentally healthy social environments
We believe in shared responsibility approach that supports individual behaviour change and changes in society that benefit everyone.