The ABCs of Mental Health
The ABCs of Mental Health is the first universal research-based public mental health promotion initiative in Denmark. The initiative is organized as a partnership, which is lead from the Department of Psychology at University of Copenhagen.
The ABCs of Mental Health partnership cooperates across different academic and organizational disciplines - across the public, private and civil society - to promote mental health on a research-based foundation. The initiative focuses on: 1) Increasing the knowledge and understanding of what people can do to strengthen their own and other's mental health through research-based information. 2) Creating the best possible conditions for mental health and well-being for the entire Danish population across life conditions and situations.
Our goal is to reduce the complexity related to mental health and to make it more tangible to work with mental health promotion in practice - both for the individual and across organizations. The partners have different target groups but we all work from a mutual and simple research-based framework. It is based on three principles that we know impact mental health and well-being: Act: Do something active, Belong: Do something with someone, and Commit: Do something meaningful.
The partnership consists of more than 50 strong partners, including The Region of Southern Denmark, a long list of municipalities, organizations, associations, and researchers - because mental health is something we create together.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. Mental health is pivotal for our health and our ability to function socially, economically and education-wise. It is increasingly acknowledged both politically and in research, that mental health is paramount for our ability to work and contribute positively to society.
Mental illness is one of the largest disease burdens in the world, and the latest National Health Profile in Denmark showed a significant decline in mental health between 2010 and 2017. This trend is especially worrying among adolescents.
In order to break this trend and improve mental health among the Danish population, national and international experts point to the necessity of investing in and prioritizing mental health promotion - alongside prevention and treatment. The ABCs of Mental Health aims at:
- Increasing knowledge and understanding of what people can do to strengthen their own and other's mental health and well-being through research-based information.
- Building organizational capacity and educate qualified staff to work with mental health promotion.
- Creating possibilities for more people to be able to take part in including communities and activities through initiatives within and across the partnership
- Ensuring that the initiatives are based on a solid scientific foundation through continuous research and evaluation.
Mental health is more than just the absence of mental health problems. Mental health is also a sense of belonging, having a reason to get up in the morning, and being able to contribute with and to something beyond oneself.
The ABCs of Mental Health partnership works to find the best ways to cooperate, create initiatives, and communicate to promote mental health in the population. The initiatives do not follow a standardized model but are developed in cooperation between the local governments, organizations and associations involved - and in cooperation with the citizens. The initiatives are continuously updated and adapted on a research-based foundation.
We regularly participate in events and communicate our knowledge of mental health promotion.
See for instance our video about mental health below where the Head of the Department of Psychology Vibeke Koushede offer students advise based on the ABCs of Mental Health:
The ABCs of Mental Health works within a simple, research-based framework. Through research, we ensure that politicians, volunteers, leaders and health staff have the best possible foundation to prioritize mental health promoting initiatives.
The research is conducted in a cooperation between researchers at the Department of Psychology at University of Copenhagen and the National Institute of Public Health at University of Southern Denmark.
- Implementing Mental Health Promotion Initiatives – Process Evaluation of the ABCs of Mental Health in Denmark
- From rhetoric to action: Adapting the Act-Belong-Commit Mental Health Promotion Programme to a Danish context
- ABC for mental sundhed – et værktøj til bedre trivsel (in Danish)
- Mental sundhed til alle – ABC i teori og praksis (in Danish)
You can find more publications at abcmentalsundhed.dk (in Danish).