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Revista de Enfermagem Referência

Print version ISSN 0874-0283


LOUREIRO, Luís Manuel de Jesus et al. Mental health literacy of teenagers and youth: concepts and challenges. Rev. Enf. Ref. [online]. 2012, vol.serIII, n.6, pp.157-166. ISSN 0874-0283.

Health literacy, understood as a constellation of cognitive and social skills and competences that allow individuals to access, understand and use information in the health domain, has been, during the last decade, viewed as a fundamental dimension of health promotion and mental illness prevention programmes. In this article, the health literacy concept and mental health literacy are presented and critically analyzed, discussing their scope and applicability, in terms of the emerging challenges that are placed on mental health education and sensitization programs for teenagers and young people. Because literacy is as relevant as it is complex (Nutbeam, 2009), a health literacy model is also presented, as well as the principal concepts related to it, namely: health education, health promotion and health communication. The extension of this theme to the area of new tools at the service of health promotion is also debated, as in the case of the Web and its potential and utility in increasing the mental health literacy of teenagers and young people.

Keywords : literacy; mental health; adolescents; youth.

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