A good recipe is one that anyone can replicate. It should outline clear steps from beginning to the end, including necessary ingredients and detailed instructions. The same elements are also important when describing good practice models for mental health promotion.

Mental health promotion can include very diverse activities which can be implemented on individual, community, or societal levels. Actions can have different goals, such as increasing mental wellbeing or creating more inclusive environments. Above all, mental health promotion is about strengthening protective factors for mental health.

Models for mental health promotion can be considered good practice when they are established, easy to implement and include a clear structure with training or guidance materials. Best practice models should also have good user experiences.

Good practice for mental health promotion

Good practice leads to concrete results. It is important to note that good practice does not necessarily require research evidence in terms of scientific effect and can also be based on other results such as positive user experiences.

Models which are openly available and comprehensively explained enable the further implementation in new contexts or target groups. It is also easier to convince funders to support a defined and comprehensive model. Sharing ideas does not mean that creators of a model should not get the recognition they deserve. The inventor of the now famous avocado pasta is still remembered, even though his recipe has been copied and modified in thousands of homes!

List of important ingredients

Here is a list that can be used to describe the good practice model:

  1. Make a note of details right from the start
    Describe developments already at initial stages. Remember descriptions can be edited or reformulated later in the process. It is also good to investigate whether something similar has already been done elsewhere.
  2. Make use of previous experiences and existing materials
    Practice makes perfect! Get to know other existing models and re-use the elements that suit your approach. You can usually find descriptions of existing models on tdevelopers’ websites and other repositories such as Innokylä.
  3. Clarify the main goal of your model
    A clear goal is short and concise, describing what the model is aiming to achieve. It is also important to clarify a distinct target group.
  4. Clearly describe all necessary resources
    What kind of resources are required to start and maintain the model? Describe human resources, time resources as well as financial and spatial resources. Also mention if something surprised you, did you for example need something you didn’t expect?
  5. Briefly run through all phases
    What was done, how was it done, and in what order? Also write down a timeline – will some steps require more time than others?
  6. Personalise your recipe!
    It is good to illustrate the model using real-life examples. For example, if the model includes group supervision, describe past supervision situations and practical solutions. It is also good to include any situations which did not work as well, or where mistakes were made.
  7. Evaluate the model to the best of your ability
    It is not always possible to research all models in detail. If an evaluation does exist, it is worth describing effects or perceived benefits of the model. At least, report on the experiences of the participants. It is also useful to note possible negative effects of the model, and any challenges implementing the model.
  8. Have a taste and be ready for making changes
    Read your description with a critical eye and give it to others for comments and suggestions. Prepare yourself to take good ideas on board and edit your description. Did some critical phase go unmentioned? Was something unexpected? Did something that felt insignificant in the beginning turn out to be more important than you thought?
  9. Publication and sharing information
    It is worth telling others about promising models! Communication can start even in development stages of the model. Good models are hard to find, so publishing them on this website or on Innokylä increases chances of their discovery. Even collaborators can be encouraged to share the news, good examples can spread quickly!

THL is currently collating good practice for mental health promotion and spreading knowledge about them. as part of implementation of the National Mental Health Strategy and the MUKANA initiative for mental health promotion.

Do you know of a promising good practice model for mental health promotion? Let us know! firstname.surname@thl.fi.

Read more:

National Mental Health Strategy 2020–2030 (thl.fi)

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