About the Project

The strategic goal of the Norwegian Mental Health Project is to advance the mental health maintenance of local inhabitants in six pilot sites in Hungary – in Balatonföldvár, Hatvan, Csongrád, Szendrő, Szentgotthárd, and Baktalórántháza – over 12 project months, and to make this effort feel like a true value for everyone through the work of the Health Promotion Offices (HPOs) already in operation. In Hungary there are no traditions of everyday methods of mental health maintenance, nor their application in a professionally organised framework. Of course, there are several professional and civic initiatives, foundations etc., since there is a high demand for these kind of associations. The pilot aims to coordinate these initiatives and help their actions in different ways.

In the framework of the project, a Mental Health Centre (MHC) function was added to the Health Promotion Offices at the above-mentioned six sites. The MHCs’ task is to map the main areas of concern related to mental health in a specific district, to collect and assess best practices for preventing, recognising, understanding and managing mental problems, as well as to deepen the cooperation between experts and helpers through training and promoting a preventative-integrative approach. MHCs create – based on specific professional and methodological criteria – a network map of professional helpers and human service providers in a given district, and of those civilians and individuals who contribute in some way to a positive change in attitudes related to mental health in the specific area.

MHCs continuously seek best practices previously applied and proven in the service area and which improve the mental health of the people who live there. The relevant good practices are examined with the help of the Methodological Centre’s audit and evaluation methods, which consider the professional evidence; after that, the suitability and the national scalability of the potential local best practice is assessed. (Collection of best practices)

The task of MHC colleagues is to implement health promotion and prevention activities at community level and to form, organise and manage the mental health promotion activity chain.

The Methodological Centre established under the project carries out professional and methodological developments, and it provides comprehensive background support for the MHCs by preparing training materials, procedures and recommendations. Moreover, it analysis and evaluates the professional and organisational activities of the MHCs, and, if appropriate, it formulates development proposals.

The problem and capacity map, as well as the collection of best practices, will be stored in a virtual public knowledge base, which could be accessed by both professional staff and lay persons.

As a result of the MHCs’ work, institutions, organisations and individuals connected to the network will know more about each other’s activities and the basics of mental health maintenance and promotion (e.g. lifestyle issues, the 116-123 and 116-111 emotional support hotlines, stress management, psychological first aid services, frequent mental illnesses etc.).

The inhabitants of the affected area are increasingly aware

  • that mental health is a value – individual and collective measures may be taken for the sake of it;
  • what the components of mental health are;
  • that mental illnesses are frequent, but generally they can be managed, and most importantly, there is help.

As a result of the project, we will gain a much more precise idea of the mental health and problems of people living in different areas of the country, who have various social and economic backgrounds and health conditions, and the full spectrum of mental health (psychiatry, psychology, primary care, outpatient and inpatient care, social field, public education etc.). Professional and educational materials and training based on the realistic problem map enable a network to emerge, one that is more effective than ever before: the close cooperation between professional staff and lay persons form its base; it helps to recognise mental illness problems properly and in time, and to prevent them, as well as to make the most of mental health promotion.

In the course of the project, the following activities will take place:

  • In the initial period, with the help of procedures, the Methodological Centre describes the local processes of mental health promotion, step by step.
  • The Methodological Centre fills HPO vacancies with suitable professionals for the MHCs’ functions.
  • It prepares the MHCs for further operation through organisational development steps and TTT (Train The Trainer) courses.

Four courses will be held at each MHC, on the topics of

  1. Depression, crisis and suicide.
  2. Stress and stress management, adaptive and maladaptive stress responses.
  3. Dementia.
  4. Risk assessment and management related to mental health and psychological first aid. Between each course there is one day of processing with training methods.
  • Problem map: With the help of the received methodological materials, the MHCs will assess the problems related to mental health in the specific district.
  • Network map: The MHCs will create – based on specific criteria – a network map of human service providers in the given district, and of those who contribute in some way to the improvement of mental health in the specific area.
  • Collection of best practices: MHCs are continuously seeking those best practices in the area which improve the mental health of the people who live there. If applicable, the functionality of the specific best practices will be examined using audit methods.
  • National and local opening conferences will take place. At the local opening conferences, some best practices will already be presented and get the opportunity to be introduced.
  • The problem maps, network maps and collections of best practices prepared will be available on the website of the Methodological Centre, in an easily accessible manner.
  • Based on the problem maps, network maps and best practices collections, the MHCs – with the support of the Methodological Centre – will create an action plan related to mental health/health promotion, on the basis of which the effectiveness and cooperation of the local network will be improved by organising health days, local workshops and training.
  • The Methodological Centre will prepare an effectiveness analysis regarding the whole project, and will formulate recommendations on national rollout, including the financing plan.
  • In parallel, intersectoral working groups will present recommendations for the policies entitled “Mental Health in All Policies”.