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27/10/2009 - Submitted by: Tilia Bousios

Publisher: ProMenPol Consortium

The 2009 ProMenPol Conference

Around 80 practitioners and policy makers from 26 different countries participated in the final ProMenPol conference that took place in Berlin on October 8th and 9th 2009 at BAuA premises.

The major theme of this conference was to explore the interface between policy and practice in mental health promotion bringing together people from both perspectives to allow them to exchange practical views and realities. In addition, this year’s conference was joined by members of the European Network for Workplace Health Promotion, which launched a new project on mental health promotion in the workplace (see article below). 

After being welcomed by Andreas Horst, representative of the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) and Dr. Karl Kuhn, the leader of the ProMenPol-project, two keynotes laid down the two main themes of the conference. Prof. Ilse Julkunen from THL (National Institute for Health and Welfare) spoke about the challenge of creating scientific evidence that is - as she cited John Dewey – “knowledge of the practical that is practical to the practical”. Dr. Olaf Tscharnezky from Unilever, Germany, gave insights to his practical experiences with respect to the implementation of mental health promotion in his company. 

As a means to support such practice the new version of the ProMenPol toolkit and database were then introduced by Tilia Boussios from Eworx, Dr. Donal McAnaney from Rehab and Dr. Richard Wynne from WRC. The toolkit and the database had been redesigned based on usability tests to enhance the functionality and its ease of use. 

In the following, Gert Lang, FRK, presented an overview of the results from the ProMenPol field trials. For each of the three settings (education: Philipp Jugert, BIPP; workplace: Catherine Kilfedder, BT group plc; older people: Arja Suni, Age Institute) practitioners presented their experiences of implementing mental health promotion tools as well as their implications for future practice and policy.  Thereafter Dr. Reinhold Sochert officially launched the new ENWHP-project (see article below).

During the first conference day all participants were invited to share their ideas and experiences with respect to the concept of evidence as well as regarding relations between policy, science and practice by writing comments on pin boards which had been set up in the conference room. A great number of people made use of this option. At the end of the day the comments were integrated by Chris O’Sullivan into the panel discussion which he led and in which those issues were lively discussed (participants were: Dr. Ilse Julkunen, THL; Dr. Olaf Tscharnezki, Unilever Germany; Maria Dolores Solé, INSHT; Dr. Donal McAnaney, Rehab).

The second conference day started with an intervention by Jürgen Scheftlein, DG SANCO, who reported on EC’s activities in the field. He introduced the newly established European Mental Health Compass and highlighted the discussion themes of the recently conducted EC thematic conference in Stockholm “Promotion of Mental Health and Well-being of Children and Young People”.

Afterwards the workshop concept was explained by Katrin Zardo, BAuA: Participants were divided into groups according to their setting of interest. Workshop leaders then presented the setting specific results from the ProMenPol field trials with respect to lessons learned for practice and policy. This was used as a starting point of discussion as a means of validating the field trial results.

Participants very actively contributed to the discussion and shared personal experiences from their professional and cultural backgrounds. The minutes of those workshops as well as all conference presentations can be downloaded from the ProMenPol-website.

 After listening to the rapporteurs summarizing the workshop discussions in the plenary, Richard Wynne, WRC, presented a final ProMenPol statement, which emphasised lessons learned in the project, the ProMenPol view on research and policy and gave an outlook to future projects building on ProMenPol.

Last but not least, the conference participants were interviewed about the conference (without the ProMenPol-team being present) by the external Evaluator of the project, John Griffith, work2health, before Dr. Karl Kuhn officially closed the event.

Preliminary Results from the ProMenPol Field Trials

An important issue for consideration in the future is to use the potential of positive mental health in practice and the strengthening of the links between practice, science and policy in mental health promotion. Each of these issues will be complemented by implementation reports developed following the Field Trials in ProMenPol.

ProMenPol has received a significant number of practice reports and implementation documentation from six schools, seven workplaces and three older people’s residences. Hence, a total of 16 reports are now available, which provide valuable insights regarding people’s learning experiences and recommendations which have been drawn for policy and practice in the field. The majority of implementers reported good or very good implementation experiences and most reported that their mental health promotion tool or initiative succeeded in meeting the desired goals. There was a great deal of acceptance for the MHP tool and high levels of satisfaction reported by the target populations (pupils, employees or residents). Field Trial participants reported valuable and sustainable organisational changes, including positive effects on mental health and an increased sense of wellbeing among the individuals involved.

In addition, the list of suggestions and recommendations for both practice and policy was detailed and valuable. For example, pilot sites highlighted the importance of the planning and implementing process of MHP projects and the necessity to adapt the tool to the specific needs of the target groups. One of the most important recommendations indicated that a particular mental health promotion strategy, an expert network, practical advice and resources are needed in order to enhance the implementation of mental health promotion and to improve mental functioning among users.

More detailed results and in-depth information will be provided at the end of this year in the final deliverable of the Field Trials of ProMenPol, which will be freely available from the ProMenPol homepage.

A representative from each setting presented the main results of their projects at the third ProMenPol conference. 

The New Release of the ProMenPol Database and Toolkit

The final release of the ProMenPol toolkit and database has now been made on the website. We would be very grateful if you could provide us with feedback on the new online database and toolkit content. A specially designed online survey will be distributed to you. We are very grateful to you for your previous feedback which has enabled us to incorporate your suggestions for improvement.

Work. in tune with life. move europe - Official Opening of the new ENWHP Campaign by the European Commission

On the 8th October 2009, the new ENWHP campaign was launched officially by the European Commission at the joint ProMenPol/ENWHP Conference in Berlin.

Under the slogan work. in tune with life. move europe the ENWHP will address the growing problem of mental illness and continue the campaign by focussing on this issue. The objective of the 8th ENWHP initiative is to bring the attention of employers and employees to strategies and programmes that exist to promote mental health at the workplace and to help them recognise their own and colleagues' emotional problems at an early stage. As in the previous campaign, models of good practice in companies and administrations will be identified and guidelines will be produced for management and other stakeholders.

The campaign is now open for participation: Companies will have the opportunity of finding out how mental health promotion can be part of their workplace health promotion programme. With their examples of good practice they can also become a "Move Europe Partner". Click here for more information about the 8th ENWHP Initiative. 

Download Newsletter No.:10

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