Academic journal article Advances in Mental Health

Developing the Perth Charter for the Promotion of Mental Health and Wellbeing

Academic journal article Advances in Mental Health

Developing the Perth Charter for the Promotion of Mental Health and Wellbeing

Article excerpt

For those interested in increasing the focus on promoting mental health, the Perth Charter for Mental Health Promotion has just been pub- lished in the International Journal of Mental Health Promotion (see footnote 1). While the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion promotes a holistic approach to health promotion, health promotion in practice has largely been confined to physical health promotion. Hence the organising committee for the Seventh World Conference on the Promotion of Mental Health and Prevention of Mental and Behavioural Disorders (held 17-19 October 2012 in Perth, WA) decided to develop a 'Perth Charter for Mental Health Promotion and Wellbeing.' It was hoped that a separate mental health promo- tion charter would be helpful as a first step towards eventual integration of physical and mental health promotion. It was envisaged that the Perth Charter would do for mental health promotion what the Ottawa Charter did for health promotion generally, and physical health promotion in particular.

The Charter was designed to be succinct and actionable, and was developed in three phases through an iterative feedback process with input from health professionals around the globe. Phase one used qualitative methodologies, including two facilitated workshop sessions held in Perth, WA, to develop initial draft principles. The work- shops suggested an initial 10 principles which were circulated via email to a broad representa- tion of selected stakeholders (most of whom were based in Australia). These stakeholders were asked to consider the concept of a mental health promo- tion charter and to provide open-ended feedback on each of the principles. To avoid duplication of existing health promotion charters and to provide a context for a charter focusing on mental health promotion, all participants were asked:

to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the Ottawa Charter for mental health promotion advocacy, as well as the impact and possible areas of unmet need from subsequent Charters, such as the Jakarta Charter, and the Melbourne Charter for Mental Health Promotion.

Using the data collected from Phase one, a full first draft of the Charter (including a preamble, vision, and eight principles) was developed. Both prompted and open-ended feedback on this draft was obtained via two online surveys of participants recruited from the email and membership lists of the Clifford Beers Foundation and Mentally Healthy WA, and, via a snowball technique, their extended networks. Along with open-ended com- ments on content and language, respondents were presented with each principle in turn and asked whether they considered the principle 'essential, desirable (but not essential), or not relevant for inclusion in a Perth Charter for Mental Health Promotion.' Extensive feedback received from the first online survey (N = 220) on the content, wording and length of the principles was incorpo- rated into a substantial revised second set of seven principles for the second online survey (N = 117). Responses were received from 15 countries (74% from Australia). All of the seven revised principles received strong support from respondents, and particularly from practitioners, with 85-100% classifying each as 'essential.' Feedback from the online surveys was incorporated into a final draft which was presented at the closing plenary session of the Conference on 19 October 2012, along with the results of the second Phase two survey showing the levels of support for each compo- nent of the Charter, and each of the principles. Conference attendees were also sent by email a copy of the Perth Charter and an invitation to continue to provide ongoing feedback in order to continually update and revise the Charter to maintain its relevance and applicability over time.

The Perth Charter is intended to be a useful resource for mental health professionals in advo- cating for greater resource allocation and policy support for mental health, and mental health promotion in particular at a local level. …

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