At its core, mental health and well-being rests on the capacity of individuals to manage their thoughts, feelings and behavior, as well as their interactions with others. It is essential that these core attributes of self-control, resilience and confidence be allowed to develop and solidify in the formative stages of life, so that individuals are equipped to deal with the complex choices and potential adversities they will face as they grow older.
Alcohol, tobacco and drug use pose risks to mental and physical health, particularly among pregnant women and adolescents. Raising awareness about the health risks of substance use can be accompanied by implementation of a number of proven strategies for reducing their use, including fiscal measures (namely, increased excise taxes) and regulatory instruments (such as comprehensive restrictions on advertising, minimum age of use and restrictions on smoking in public places).
Maintaining a healthy diet and regular physical exercise are also protective factors for mental health and can be considered as part of a holistic approach to health promotion and protection in the population.