‘Mental health is what makes life worth living’: an exploration of lay people’s understandings of mental health in Denmark

Line Nielsen, Betina Bang Sørensen, Robert J Donovan, Tine Tjørnhøj-Thomsen, Vibeke Koushede

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    How people understand mental health has important implications for designing and implementing mental health promotion, and particularly where campaigns developed in one culture are implemented in another. Hence, as part of an adaptation of the Australian Act-Belong-Commit mental health promotion campaign into the Danish context, this qualitative study explored Danish lay people’s understandings of mental health and mental health promoting factors. In total, N = 39 individuals (27 adults and 12 young people) from various regions across Denmark participated in seven focus groups interviews. Two overall and intertwined understandings of mental health emerged: mental health as a ‘state of mind’ and mental health as a relation. Overall, Danish people’s understanding of what constitutes good mental health and what people can do
    to keep mentally healthy were consistent with the underlying messages in the
    Act-Belong-Commit campaign, and hence translatable to a Danish context. Given the lack of research in the area, this study contributes to the literature on lay people’s understanding of concepts around mental health and keeping mentally healthy.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Promotion
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)26-37
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Cite this