Improving the Mental Health of City Dwellers

The Adler School brings together global experts on Urban Mental Health

Aug 02, 2012, 13:15 ET from The Adler School of Professional Psychology

CHICAGO, Aug. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A steady diet of trans fats has a proven link to aggressive behaviors and mood disorders.

Racial discrimination is associated with anxiety and depression.

Your ZIP code determines whether you get access to good health care.

With more than half of the world's population living in cities, researchers are paying more attention to how social conditions, such as poverty, violence and isolation, in many urban areas can harm the mental health and well-being of underserved individuals and communities — and are working to identify what can be done about it.

This September, leading global experts on the social determinants of mental health will join the Adler School of Professional Psychology to discuss the many ways in which city living can affect the well-being of urban residents, particularly the most vulnerable. The conference is hosted by the Adler School of Professional Psychology's Institute on Social Exclusion (ISE), led by Lynn Todman, Ph.D., ISE executive director and a prominent U.S. expert on the link between public policies and the mental health of urban communities.

"The Social Determinants of Urban Mental Health: Paving the Way Forward" conference takes place Sept. 19 and 20 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, 540 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. For details and conference registration, visit

Leading speakers will share recent and emerging research on the social determinants of mental health, and how the findings inform and shape government agencies' and philanthropic organizations' programming and funding priorities.

Europe's renowned scholar on health inequalities and the director of the University College London Institute of Health Equity (Marmot Institute), Michael G. Marmot, Ph.D., will provide a keynote address. Marmot's pioneering work over the last 35 years continues to advance global understanding of the social causes of health inequalities.

Additional presenters include:

  • They Are What You Feed Them author Alex Richardson, senior research fellow, Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, University of Oxford, and cofounder of the U.K. charity Food and Behaviour Research, who will share research on how nutrition can alter behavior, learning and mood.
  • Kwame McKenzie, M.D., medical director of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, who will unveil his work demonstrating how social factors such as racism are linked to poor mental health.
  • Sarah Curtis, D.Phil., professor of health and risk at University of Durham, U.K., who examines how and why geographical settings lead to mental health and other health inequalities.

At a post-conference workshop, Todman will facilitate discussion on the Institute's groundbreaking Mental Health Impact Assessment (MHIA) project in collaboration with Chicago's Englewood community, as well as reveal the final results of the 18-month study.

The first-of-its-kind MHIA examined a proposed revision to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Policy Guidance on Consideration of Arrest in Employment Decisions, and its potential impact on community mental health in Englewood. The MHIA process enables residents of low-income urban neighborhoods to provide input about policy decisions that would affect the mental health of their communities.

The MHIA process, which has attracted attention from researchers, community leaders and policymakers throughout the United States and abroad, expands on established Health Impact Assessment (HIA) practice by more explicitly integrating mental health considerations.  As a preventive practice, MHIA can help ensure that legislation, policy, and other public decisions reflect an understanding of their implications for the mental health of vulnerable communities.

Continuing Medical Education (CME) / Continuing Education (CE)
This conference is jointly sponsored by University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Medicine, the UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work, and the Adler School of Professional Psychology.

This conference activity is eligible for a maximum of 11 educational credit hours.

  • For psychologists and interested non-psychologists: the Adler School will provide American Psychological Association CE credits.
  • For physicians: The UIC College of Medicine will provide CME credits.
  • For social workers: The UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work will provide CE credits.

For more information about "The Social Determinants of Urban Mental Health: Paving the Way Forward" or the Adler School's Institute on Social Exclusion and its MHIA project, visit or email

About the Adler School of Professional Psychology

The Adler School of Professional Psychology has provided quality education through a scholar/practitioner model for 60 years. The School's mission is to train socially responsible graduates who continue the visionary work of Alfred Adler throughout the world. The Adler School offers 13 graduate-level programs enrolling more than 1,000 students at its campuses in Chicago and Vancouver, British Columbia, and through Adler Online. For information, visit

Related Link:
Visit the ISE website

Contact: Kim McCullough
Director of Communications
(312) 662-4124

SOURCE The Adler School of Professional Psychology