Seven projects aim to improve mental health

VELUX FONDEN supports the development of new initiatives that focus on preventing and reducing mental health problems. Seven projects will receive a total of DKK 23.6 million to develop and test new methods and interactions between initiatives in the social sector.

Is there a mental health crisis in Denmark? According to the Danish Health Authority’s latest survey, 'The National Health Profile 2021' (in Danish), one in six Danes over the age of 16 suffers from poor mental health. That is roughly 839,000 people – and young people are hit hardest. From 2017 to 2021, the proportion of Danes with poor mental health increased from 13.2 to 17.4 per cent. Although this increase may partly be explained by the corona lockdown, there is cause for concern about the negative development of our mental health.

Innovative thinking and communities

VELUX FONDEN has for many years supported the development of new initiatives in civil society that prevent and reduce mental ill-health. Last spring, we posted an open call to develop methods for combining initiatives in civil society and municipalities/regions for the benefit of people with mental health problems:

Social initiatives

Read more about VELUX FONDEN’s grant programme for social initiatives.

See new open call post: Mental health (In Danish. The deadline for submitting project proposals is 7 November 2022, 13:00.)

“We want to support innovative thinking about how we in Denmark can reduce serious mental health problems and create more opportunities to live a good and meaningful life despite mental illness. There have been many good project ideas, and the seven exciting projects we’ve selected have an important focus on promoting community and social life,” says head of programme Vibeke Lybecker from the social grant programme.

‘Experts by experience’ increase focus on users

To ensure that the projects make sense to the users, VELUX FONDEN has been assisted by ten people who have first-hand experience of mental illness and mental health problems:

“Having experts by experience attached to this project has been very valuable. Based on their lived experiences of mental health problems, they’ve helped us assess the ideas in the applications and what makes sense to develop and test. The seven selected projects have all received very positive assessments from both experts by experience and professional consultants. The projects look at a range of interesting initiatives and collaborations that could contribute to improving both the individual’s situation and developments in the social sector,” says Vibeke Lybecker.

In order to gain knowledge about what works, a cross-cutting evaluation is also being commissioned, which is currently under tender.

In 2023, VELUX FONDEN will also provide an opportunity to develop methods promoting interactions between social-sector initiatives for the benefit of people with mental health problems. We recently published an open call for projects focusing on mental well-being (in Danish). This time, the experts by experience have been invited to join the process even earlier. They have helped write the open call text and will also assist with the initial selection of project ideas.

See the projects
Adults affected by late effects of sexual abuse

- Civil society and the psychiatric sector support adults suffering from late effects of childhood sexual abuse in critical transitions

Centre for Victims of Sexual Abuse – South – Volunteer Section (in Danish)

Grant: DKK 1,160,000

The aim of this project is to develop a holistic initiative combining volunteer services and psychiatric services in the Region of Southern Denmark, rather than parallel services, and to support adults affected by late effects of sexual abuse in building up everyday social networks and interpersonal skills.

Play together!

- Development of a new joint approach and method for social psychiatry and civil society

Social Development Centre (SUS) (in Danish)

Grant: DKK 4,466,664

The project is aimed at developing a method for creating real and close cooperative relations between municipal social psychiatric services and civil society. The goal is to give people with mental health problems access to meaningful communities in civil society as part of the individual’s recovery process. The methods will be developed and tested in different municipal contexts. All elements – involvement, exploration, development and testing – will be combined in one method description that other municipalities, services and civil society players can benefit from.

The Mobile Daytime Folk High School

The Skills-Development Centre (in Danish)

Grant: DKK 2,069,268

The purpose of the project is to develop an initiative that can bring public education activities into the daily lives of psychiatric patients in order to improve patients’ recovery during and after their psychiatric stays. The project is a collaboration between the Daytime Folk High School at the Skills-Development Centre (Daghøjskolen Kompetencehuset) and the psychiatric services under Aarhus University Hospital. The project must therefore also find good forms of collaboration between the psychiatric services and a civil society player.

The Mobile Daytime Folk High School’s activities are carried out for 3-4 hours two afternoons a week. After their psychiatric stay, the target group can continue educational activities under the Daytime Folk High School at the Skills-Development Centre as a kind of aftercare. 

Communities and safe transitions for young people under psychiatric care

Red Cross Youth 

Grant: DKK 2,525,991

The purpose of this project is to bring a form of ordinary youth life into the psychiatric wards to empower and improve the well-being of young people, both during and after their stay. The project also aims to develop standards for good cooperation between civil society and a region. A youth café will be established at a child and adolescent psychiatric ward for young people aged 14-20, and two cafés will be established in an adult psychiatric ward for young people aged 20-30. The cafés are intended to be placed where young people can meet their peers and talk about what is important to them.

The project is a collaboration between Red Cross Youth and the psychiatric services in the Region of Southern Denmark, and the youth cafés are run by young volunteers from Red Cross Youth. In addition, the project includes a youth-to-youth mentoring scheme, where a young person admitted to the psychiatric ward meets with a young volunteer mentor once a week. The mentoring scheme will continue after the psychiatric stay, and should be seen as a bridge-building activity to help the young person integrate into general social communities. 

GirlTalk & Region of Southern Denmark

- An intersectoral collaboration

Region of Southern Denmark (in Danish)

Grant: DKK 4,905,700

The purpose of this project is to create a change that increases girls’ well-being and enables them to meet the requirements for completing a secondary or higher education. It is also intended to strengthen intersectoral cooperation through an initiative developed by the civil-society organisation GirlTalk in collaboration with the Region of Southern Denmark and one or two municipalities, and to evaluate whether this type of initiative can add more value to the target group than the sectors can individually.  

The project should be seen as a supplement to more intensive interventions.

Literary bridge-building and co-creation

The Reading Association (Læseforeningen) (in Danish)

Grant: DKK 2,723,068

The purpose of this project is to develop a structured, ongoing literary programme for users of psychiatric services that builds bridges to other initiatives in civil society and links to communities based on shared subjects not related to mental illness.

The project is based on a bridge-building process with three phases, which makes it possible to take part as a participant, reading guide or ambassador.

People need people

Psychiatric Services, Region Zealand (in Danish)

Grant: DKK 5,760,000

This project aims to create a strong, bridge-building collaboration that gives people with mental illness and mental health problems access to social networks and meaningful, diagnosis-free communities that can enhance the target group’s well-being and drive. This is done by developing and testing cooperation models between social enterprises: the Veteran Garden in Slagelse and Sct. Hans Garden in Roskilde, the psychiatric services in both municipalities and the psychiatric services in Region Zealand.

Vibeke Lybecker
Senior Adviser, Head of Programme, VELUX FONDEN
+45 23 80 69 80
Anna Høxbro Bak
Communications Adviser, THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS
+45 22 64 03 55