CORDIS - EU research results

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

Final Report Summary - PROMENPOL (Promoting and protecting mental health, supporting policy through integration of research, current approaches and practice)

Mental health is the emotional and spiritual resilience, which enables us to enjoy life and to survive pain, disappointment and sadness. It is a positive sense of well-being and an underlying belief on our own and other's dignity and worth. Mental health is central to the human, social and economic capital of society - however, the incidence of mental distress and disease is increasing rapidly throughout Europe. Against this background, the PROMENPOL project set out to identify useful and practical approaches to the promotion and protection of mental health by developing a systematic multidimensional approach to identifying and classifying effective tools across the lifespan in three settings: schools, the workplace and older people's residences.

The incidence and costs associated with mental distress and ill health are very substantial and expected to rise globally over the next 15 years. This trend must be viewed within a context where there is an equally rapid proliferation of so-called 'solutions' and responses ranging from self-help manuals, through personal development regimes to organisational, professional and commercial intervention options. PROMENPOL was predicated on the assumption that amongst this wide diversity of theories, models and methods, there are useful and practical approaches and strategies that can form the basis for a systematic multidimensional approach to promoting personal mental health and managing the risk factors that predispose distress and pathology.

The main results of the PROMENPOL project were the online database and toolkit manual, the experiences of the field trials and the creation of a global network on mental health promotion.

The PROMENPOL database contains a structured selection of more than 400 Mental health promotion (MHP) tools which can be applied in three settings: schools, workplaces, older people's residences.

Examples of MHP tools include social-competence programmes for schools, guidelines for employers on how to promote a mentally healthy working environment, or a friendship enrichment programme for older women. Tool descriptions come with a wide range of information that helps users to select the appropriate tool for their needs. For example, when users select a tool of interest, they obtain general information about the tool, publication information, alternative tool languages, the tool URL, its stage of development, evaluation information and developer's contact details. This helps the user find the most appropriate tool for their needs.

Tools are also categorised using a modification of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 and a categorisation based on health promotion models. These codes provide a description of the contents of each tool, and they can also be used as a keyword system to help identify the most appropriate tool of interest for the user. The tools have also been classified using a four-step project implementation cycle. This structure helps guide the user through every step in the process, from preparation for the introduction of a programme or project to implementation and progress monitoring.