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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064

Abstract

PARALES-QUENZA, Carlos J. Anomie and Public Mental Health. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2008, vol.10, n.4, pp.658-666. ISSN 0124-0064.

This article uses the concept of anomie for understanding public mental-health issues and constructing strategies aimed at promoting health and preventing disease. Studying anomie involves many definitions and approaches; this article conceptualises anomie as dérréglement or derangement and as a total social fact as its effects and consequences are pervasive across all areas of human experience. The article suggests the pertinence of the concept to public health based on several authors’ observations depicting Latin-America as being a set of anomic societies and Colombia as the extreme case. Current definitions of mental health in positive terms (not just as being the absence of mental illness) validate the need for considering anomie as an indicator of public mental health. The article proposes that if anomie expresses itself through rules as basic social structure components, then such rules should also be considered as the point of intervention in promoting mental health.

Keywords : Anomie; mental health; Colombia; Latin-America.

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