GWG on Mental Health Promotion

Good mental health is an integral component of population health and wellbeing and contributes to the functioning of individuals, families, communities and society (WHO, 2013). As recognized by the World Health Organization in its Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020, strategies focused on curing mental ill-health alone will not necessarily deliver on improved mental health at a population level. Mental health promotion is concerned with strengthening protective factors for good mental health and enabling access to skills, resources and supportive environments that will keep individuals and populations mentally healthy. There is compelling international evidence that there are effective and feasible interventions for promoting mental health that when implemented effectively can enhance protective factors for good mental health, reduce risk factors for mental disorders, and lead to lasting positive effects on a range of health, social and economic outcomes (Barry, Clarke, Petersen and Jenkins, 2019). With the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), mental health has for the first time been included explicitly as an integral component of the global development agenda (Target 3.4). 

Mental health is a positive resource for living that requires whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches. Upstream policies and practices are needed to ensure that the conditions that create good mental health and reduce inequities are accessible to all. The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the urgent need to address the mental health impact of the virus at a population level, including addressing the effects of isolation and loneliness, fear, anxiety, depression and domestic violence. However, the capacity to deliver effective strategies, especially with regard to mental health promotion and primary prevention, needs to be strengthened.

This IUHPE Global Working Group is being formed to advance the professional development and integration of mental health promotion within the wider health promotion field and to advocate for a greater focus on implementing mental health promotion within global health and development agendas. The Global Working Group will engage members in considering how this can be achieved and articulating what capacity needs to be developed to ensure that mental health promotion can be more fully integrated into mainstream health promotion and sustainable development strategies. Position papers, statements and other outputs will be developed to outline what systems need to be put in place to support the development and implementation of mental health promotion action plans, and to identify what workforce skills and capacities are needed to promote population mental health and wellbeing in different countries globally.



To advance mental health promotion policy, practice and research, and support evidence-based action and training that will contribute to population health and wellbeing and reduce health inequities within and between countries globally.



  • To position mental health promotion more centrally within the global health promotion field and
    health systems, enhancing recognition of its contribution to population health, wellbeing and

  • To advocate for a greater focus on implementing mental health promotion within the global and
    national health and sustainable development agendas;

  • To provide a platform for the sharing of knowledge and good practice among mental health
    promoters globally;

  • To build workforce capacity for mental health promotion through identifying core competencies
    and education and training for practice.


Work Plan 2020-2022

  • To develop an IUHPE Position Paper and selected position statements on mental health promotion, clearly outlining it central role within the global health promotion field and its contribution to population health and wellbeing; 

  • To develop an advocacy model for global mental health promotion that can be used to advance the position of mental health promotion within the global and national health and development agendas; 

  • To develop a community of practice and a platform for the sharing of knowledge and good practice
    among mental health promoters globally; 

  • To identify core competencies for mental health promotion and develop a core curriculum for
    education and training in mental health promotion practice;

  • To organise dedicated webinars and related presentations on mental health promotion, including a
    sub-plenary at the IUHPE Global Conference – submission for the Montréal Conference in 2022.


Name and Country


Paola Ardiles, Canada

Lecturer, Social Innovation, Health & Community Partnerships, Simon Fraser University, Canada. Co-Founder, Bridge for Health Coop

Margaret Barry, Ireland

Chair of the Global Working Group

IUHPE President, WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion Research, NUI, Galway, Ireland

Mariette Chartier, Canada

Senior Research Scientist, Assistant Professor, Manitoba Centre for Health
Policy, Community Health Sciences, Max Rady College of Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada

Aleisha Clarke, United Kingdom


Head of What Works, Child Mental Health and Wellbeing, Early Intervention Foundation, London, UK 

Marion Cooper, Canada

Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association Winnipeg/ Manitoba, Canada

Kevin Dadaczynski, Germany

Professor, Department of Nursing and health Science, Fulda University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Aisling Doherty, Ireland

Mental Health Promotion Manager, Mental Health Ireland

Lisa Ducat, New Zealand

Workplace Wellbeing Specialist, Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand

Janet Fanslow, New Zealand

Associate Professor, School of Population Health, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Juliana Fleury, Brazil


President of ASEC Brazil– Child Mental and Emotional Health Association,
leading Skills for Life Movement initiative 

Ciaran Fox, New Zealand

Mental Health Promotion Strategist, Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand

Emily Jenkins, Canada


Assistant Professor, School of Nursing , University of British Columbia,

Vibeke Jenny Koushede, Denmark

Professor and Head of Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Pascale Mantoura, Canada

National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy (NCCHPP), Institut
national de santé publique, Montréal, Québec 

Miranda Novak, Croatia

Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioural Disorders, Faculty of
Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Orkan Okan, Germany

Researcher, Faculty of Educational Science, Bielefeld University, Germany

Debra Rickwood, Australia

Professor of Psychology, University of Canberra and Chief Scientific Advisor and Executive Director, National Youth Mental Health Foundation, Australia

Anne Sheridan, Ireland

National Lead for Mental Health Promotion, Health Service Executive Health & Wellbeing, Ireland 

Jude Stansfield, United Kingdom

National Adviser, Public Mental Health & Healthy Communities Priorities and Programmes Division, Health Improvement Directorate, Public Health England

Nina Tamminen, Finland

Senior Specialist, Mental Health Unit/WHO Collaborating Centre for Mental Health Promotion, Prevention and Policy, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki

Irene Verins, Australia

Manager – Mental Wellbeing, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation
(VicHealth), Carlton, Victoria, Australia

Orla Walsh, Ireland

Project Manager - Mental Health & Wellbeing, Health Service Executive, Health & Wellbeing, Dublin, Ireland


Chair’s and members’ responsibilities:

Margaret Barry will serve as the initial founding Chair of this group, a role that will rotate. The Global
Working Group will be organised into task-based sub-groups aligned with the different streams of
activity in the work plan. Each sub-group will have a chair/co-chairs who will convene the group and
organise the development and delivery of the work programme. Additional members will be
encouraged to join the groups in order to expand the reach and representation of the GWG.


In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Working Group on Mental Health Promotion has recently published a Position Statement on "Critical Actions for Mental Health Promotion". 

Download the statement in English here.

This document is also available in FrenchSpanish, Italian, Swedish, and Finnish.