Addressing the Determinants of Child Mental Health: Intersectionality as a Guide to Primary Health Care Renewal


  • Charmaine M. McPherson
  • Elizabeth A. McGibbon


Primary health care (PHC) renewal was designed explicitly to attend to the multidimensional factors impacting on health, including the social determinants of health. These determinants are central considerations in the development of integrated, cross-sectoral, and multi-jurisdictional policies such as those that inform models of shared mental health care for children. However, there are complex theoretical challenges in translating these multidimensional issues into policy. One of these is the rarely discussed interrelationships among the social determinants of health and identities such as race, gender, age, sexuality, and social class within the added confluence of geographic contexts. An intersectionality lens is used to examine the complex interrelationships among the factors affecting child mental health and the associated policy challenges surrounding PHC renewal. The authors argue that an understanding of the intersections of social determinants of health, identity, and geography is pivotal in guiding policy-makers as they address child mental health inequities using a PHC renewal agenda.