Mental health research with vulnerable populations

Mental health is a big concern in Europe, especially because of the threats of climate change, digitalisation, socio-economic inequities, migration, and aging populations. We need new ideas and innovative solutions to help vulnerable groups during these changes, not just relying on treatment in the clinical healthcare system.

ADVANCE is a project that aims to improve our understanding on mental health promotion and prevention. It will develop guidance and methodologies for creating, adapting, implementing, assessing, and expanding effective mental health initiatives for key diverse groups in European countries.

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Our contribution to mental health in Europe

ADVANCE is our answer to EU's call on boosting mental health in Europe in times of change.
Our activities are tailored towards contributing to the following expected outcomes:



The scientific community, together with the public authorities, should be able to anticipate new and emerging risks to mental health associated with a transforming Europe, contributing to better and inclusive public mental health preparedness..




Citizens should have access to new tools and services to take informed decisions about their wellbeing and mental health care needs (including for self-management and self-care).





Citizens should feel less stigmatised and marginalised due to their mental ill health.






Health and social care professionals, national/ regional public authorities, and other relevant actors in key settings should have access to evidence-based, innovative, cost-effective/cost-neutral, large-scale, comprehensive strategies targeting the most vulnerable populations.


Our goal

Our goal is to provide accessible, user-friendly, research-based guidance for the co-creation, evaluation, and scaling up of mental health promotion and prevention programs with vulnerable populations in Europe.

Unfolding current challenges

OBJECTIVE 1: We will document current challenges and co-create implementation and scaling-up strategies to anticipate new and emerging risks, ensure access to new mental health tools, and to reduce stigma and marginalisation.

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Evaluation of interventions

OBJECTIVE 2: We will evaluate mental health promotion and prevention interventions to develop implementation formats in new contexts and populations. We will make sure these new strategies are based on real evidence.

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Scaling up solutions for larger populations

OBJECTIVE 3: We will support in expanding the reach of mental health promotion and prevention efforts, so that more people can benefit from them. At the same time, we'll make sure these interventions are effective.

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Our approach

ADVANCE is a mental health research project done differently because we  uphold
and integrate three key principles into our framework.

Prevention and promotion

Most research today is all about treating mental health issues through specialized clinical services. But here's the catch – these clinical systems in Europe are having a tough time keeping up with the growing demand.

Now, here's where ADVANCE steps in. Instead of just dealing with the aftermath, it's all about stopping mental health problems before they even start. Think of it as getting to the root of the issue to prevent it in the first place.

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Structural vulnerabilities and injustices

ADVANCE will critically reflect on some important questions: Where does the distress come from? What are the roots of the problem? It will go beyond addressing coping strategies in individual participants to better understand how contextual vulnerabilities and psychological distress interact and can be address in an integrated manner.

ADVANCE believes it is not fair to focus solely on the individual without addressing structural issues.

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Co-creation approach

This project thrives on the active involvement of young individuals, working professionals, migrants, and older adults.

Together with our Society Advisory Groups, we engage in a collaborative effort to shape policies, services, and communication that foster positive mental health. This collaborative process is guided by a psychosocial model and a human rights-based approach.

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Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the Health and Digital Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

This website is hosted and maintained by the University of Copenhagen and will remain active beyond the project's end.

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