Together at Social Sciences - the ABCs of mental health at the university
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Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen Denmark
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1272
Background and objectives:
For most young people, the study years are a good period of their lives, socially and academically. Unfortunately, there are also an increasing number of young people who experience mental health problems or low levels of mental well-being. Much research on university student wellbeing has focused on psychological distress and the use of support services by students experiencing mental health problems. More research on how to promote mental well-being in this context is needed. The objective of the complex ABC-uni intervention is to promote mental wellbeing among students by 1) increasing mental well-being literacy among students and staff and 2) to promote a mental health promoting study environment.

‘Together at Social Sciences - ABCs of mental health at the university’ (ABC-uni) is an adaptation of the ABC of mental health (ABC) to the university setting. ABC is the first universal research based public mental health promotion initiative in Denmark. ABC-uni applies a whole university approach focusing on students, surroundings, staff and other parties that can influence students’ mental well-being. It includes several elements: elective course for students on mental health promotion (MHP) in theory and practice, online module on MHP for students based on podcast interviews with experts and students, capacity building in MHP among staff and student organisations, photovoice-based mapping of health promoting assets and needs at campus, and communication campaigns on MHP.

The elements of the complex intervention is under development and are being pilot tested during 2023. At the conference, we will present preliminary experiences and findings.

Universities play an important role in promoting mental well-being at the individual, group and university level. The salutogenic approach applied in the ABC-uni may provide valuable experiences that can support this.

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