Visions - Health Literacy

PDF | Vol. 8, No. 2 (2013)

You may wonder what the term ‘literacy’ has to do with ‘health’ or ‘mental health,’ but if we think of basic literacy as “reading” (understanding information) and “writing” (communicating information), then we begin to see how it can apply to mental health information. After all, you need to understand information from professionals like doctors and pharmacists in order to follow instructions, for example. But the real benefits of health literacy are in your ability to consider the different ways to use that information to make changes that improve your health or support good health. In this issue, you’ll see that health literacy starts with the health system and how it works. Next, you’ll see the importance of seeking quality information and considering how that information might apply to a particular situation. Finally, you’ll see that health literacy includes very broad ideas around social factors and communities. Ultimately, we hope Visions itself is a tool to support your own mental health literacy and empower you to take control of your own health.