Skip to main content
Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo

Our Mission

We are in a global mental health crisis. These trends have become even more apparent with the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic will likely elevate these trends in the long term.

The purpose of our initiative for Advanced Research on Mental Health and Society (ARMS) is to lead the way for mental health research in the social sciences. Our interdisciplinary research group will encourage collaboration between health sciences, social sciences, and community engaged perspectives by involving the combined expertise of faculty, students, and community leaders with diverse knowledge backgrounds in the effort to address issues of mental health. ARMS takes the approach that mental health cannot be understood using one perspective alone. It is only through the intersection of multiple perspectives that we can develop a grounded and functional understanding of mental health.

Our Approach

ARMS’ approach to mental health is innovative and focuses on the structural and societal aspects of mental health. Our vision underscores that social science perspectives must be prioritized in the effort to address the burden of mental health problems. Rather than focusing on individual struggles alone, social scientific perspectives can be used to investigate social determinants of mental health, societal experiences of distress, and structural causes of mental health inequalities. This is essential because “many stressful experiences, it should be recognized, don't spring out of a vacuum but typically can be traced back to surrounding social structures and people's locations within them” (1). ARMS will bring awareness to the social dimensions of mental health and will highlight structural influences on individual and societal well-being.

(1) Pearlin, 1989, p. 242

Looking at the year ahead