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Visions Journal

A reminder that this article from our magazine Visions was published more than 1 year ago. It is here for reference only. Some information in it may no longer be current. It also represents the point of the view of the author only. See the author box at the bottom of the article for more about the contributor.

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.


  • Editor's Message
    (Jonny Morris)

  • Is British Columbia a World Leader in Mental Health Literacy?
    (Irving Rootman)

  • What is Health Literacy?
    (Stephanie Wilson)

  • Evaluating Mental Health and Substance Use Information
    (BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information)

  • Mental Health Literacy: What does it mean for substance use and why does it matter?
    (Dan Reist)

Experiences and Perspectives

  • A Young Person Describes Health Literacy
    (Shelley Hine and Chloe*)

  • Health Literacy—A Family Member’s Perspective
    (Patti Outram)

  • Health Literacy and Mood Disorders: A personal reflection

Alternatives and Approaches
  • Understanding Health Literacy in Immigrants
    (Sangeeta Bhonsale)

  • Mental Health Literacy Improves Service Delivery
    (Alex Berland)


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