Health researchers have identified a list of conditions that are described as the social determinants of health which can affect our individual physical and mental health. The list includes the following:
- Income and income distribution
- Unemployment and job security
- Employment and working conditions
- Early childhood development
- Food insecurity
- Social exclusion
- Social safety network
- Health services
- Aboriginal status
The presence or absence of any of the social determinants of health can affect the physical and mental health of an individual and, therefore, the quality of their life. Often they are clustered together. The person who is homeless is not likely to enjoy food security. It is difficult to gain employment if you do not have an address and a telephone.
The Purpose Society attempts to provide a continuum of services that include the physical, mental and social determinants of health. These include the provision of medical services for youth, adults and gay men and the Rent Bank program that assists people to remain in their homes by providing small loans.