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07/03/2011 - Submitted by: Solin Pia

The parallel session “Improving Mental Health of Older People” at the Dataprev Conference - The Hague on February 14th-15th, 2011

Several interesting lectures and speeches were heard during the European debate on Evidence Based Mental Health Promotion and Prevention of Mental Disorders Conference.

Three presentations were given in the parallel session “Improving Mental Health of Older People”.

Researcher Anna Forsman from the University of Helsinki started the session by presenting the results of the Dataprev Project. Forsman had collected data from 68 evaluated psychosocial interventions which focused on prevention of depression and promotion of mental health in older people. These interventions were grouped into:

  1. Physical training;
  2. Coping skills;
  3. Peer support;
  4. Reminiscence;
  5. Social activities; and
  6. Multi-component interventions.

The most promising interventions were the ones which focused on social activities and in general it was observed that the duration of the intervention affected the result

Dr Jeannet Kramer from Trimbos Institute gave a presentation about Colour your Life – Intervention, an online self-help programme for older people. The aim of the programme is to prevent depressive symptoms and requires.participants to perform weekly exercises on the internet. Participants and are not able to proceed to the next exercise before the previous exercises have been completed. Elderly Dutch people are very skilled internet users and this may, in part, explain the success of this type of intervention in The Netherlands.

The last speaker of the session was Project Co-ordinator Pia Solin, who gave a presentation of MindHealth Project. This project designs and provides training for mental health promotion in three settings: schools, workplaces and older people residences. The aim of the training is to provide knowledge as well as practical tools about mental health promotion in these settings. The training material is mainly internet based but also includes three face-to-face sessions. The focus of the face-to-face sessions is to support the participants in applying the new information in their daily activities in their settings. Solin also introduced the first draft of the e-learning material for older people setting.

The aims of the conference were to share information on evidence-based programmes, stimulate debate on their value and use across Europe among stakeholders from European countries and networks. The conference also aimed at enabling large-scale implementation as well as improving evidence to support policy and practice. Furthermore, the conference launched a new European database on evidence-based programmes to promote mental health and to prevent mental disorders (DataPrev).

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