A Framework for Prevention and Promotion

Developed by the Hunter Institute, Prevention First: A Prevention and Promotion Framework for Mental Health encourages strategic and coordinated action to prevent mental ill-health and promote mental health and wellbeing.

The terms promotion, prevention and early intervention have become confused when applied to mental health, and are often (incorrectly) used interchangeably. This has led to gaps in investment and gaps in action. These terms also have little relevance to sectors outside of health who are key partners in this work.

The Framework was developed to build on existing models and policies developed in Australia and overseas. It aims to:

  • Define key concepts
  • Develop a new plain-language conceptual framework to explain prevention and promotion
  • Set an agenda for coordinated action. 
The Framework was written for a broad audience – governments, policymakers, health and mental health workers as well as key sectors such as children’s services, education, business and more. 

Prevention First takes a population health approach to promotion and prevention, focusing on the health needs and relevant interventions for whole populations or groups, such as:

  • Groups at higher risk of mental ill-health
  • Groups or individuals showing early signs of mental ill-health
  • Individuals currently experiencing an episode of mental illness;
  • Individuals recovering from mental illness
  • Whole communities.

Prevention First comprises of focused prevention and promotion activity across the spectrum, and intervention at both a population and individual level. It also identifies seven key ‘Action Areas’ to further clarify the range of promotion and prevention activity that can and does occur.


Initial funding that led to the development of Prevention First was provided by the NSW Ministry of Health.

The Hunter Institute acknowledges all the individuals and organisations who contributed to the development of the framework in its early stages.

Framework Final All
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