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Promoting and protecting mental health, supporting policy through integration of research, current approaches and practice

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Promoting mental health across the lifespan

Rising incidences of mental distress — as well as associated costs — present a very real need: to protect society’s social, economic and human capital. An EU-funded project sought to find and present the means of dealing with this bane of modern life.


The Promenpol research team worked to identify practical and useful approaches for promoting and protecting mental health. The way forward was to advance a systematic and multidimensional approach that could identify and classify the kinds of tools for effective use in different stages of the lifespan. Field trial experiences and the formation of a global network on mental health promotion were just two of the project’s successes. The major outcomes, significant for their application potential, were an online database and toolkit manual. The first of the two offers a structured selection of over 400 mental health promotion (MHP) tools. These are useful for schools, workplaces and older people's residences. The tools were described, categorised and then classified for implementation in a four-step project. This structure acts as a guide for every step in the process — from preparing to enter a project or programme to implementation to monitoring progress. Promenpol thus set the wheels in motion for a new conceptual and multidimensional approach to managing risk factors that predispose distress and pathology and to promoting personal mental health.

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