This group met informally at the 2016 Practitioners’ Workshop to re-energize around efforts to develop and disseminate resources to help HIA practitioners better consider the Mental Health implications in their work. After a follow-up conference call to maintain momentum, the group has decided to release two resource sheets by summer of 2016: 1) A set of common definitions HIA practitioners can utilize when incorporating mental health into their HIAs, and 2) sample pathways explaining positive and negative connections between potential decisions and mental health that practitioners can use to inform their scoping process. Other resources will be posted to the SOPHIA website as they become available.
The SOPHIA Mental Health Workgroup was established in March 2013 and consists of 18 members from diverse backgrounds and geographic areas. Their common goal is to integrate mental health considerations into HIAs. The group met for its second session at an HIA of the Americas meeting. Of the 9 attendees, 7 were new to the group. Facilitators provided a brief overview of the history of the working group and reviewed the draft materials that have been created to date. Participants then split into two groups. Using current HIA projects as examples, participants discussed how to utilize the draft materials to guide them in better incorporating mental health considerations into their HIAs, then reflected on this process, concluding that the materials were helpful. Facilitators then discussed plans for remaining materials to be created and next steps.
The Mental Health working group plans to meet quarterly. Future resources will be developed over the next year, with an initial focus on guidance regarding recommendations that consider mental health impacts. Other documents are also in the queue for development and include guidance on: 1) identifying resources for assessment, including indicators to use and available data sources, 2) reporting and communications guidance on how to translate mental health data into accessible information for engaging decision-makers, and 3) providing a review of the current status of mental health in HIAs.