Vibeke Jenny Koushede

Senior researcher, University of Southern Denmark

I am senior researcher and project director with a passion for public mental health, and a strong focus on closing the gap between research, policy and practice.

I have a practical background as a midwife and worked as such for 7 years in both the UK and Denmark before I embarked on an academic career with a MPH in 2007 and a PhD in 2010.

My primary research interests are public mental health, intervention research, and bridging the gap between research, policy and practice. I believe the best way to create sustainable, meaningful and effective public mental health projects is by working in multi-disciplinary teams using a cross-sectoral approach.

In 2011 I was the initiator and project leader of a large randomized trial among 1766 women and their partners – Project Newborn – preparation for birth and parenthood. The trial examined an antenatal education programme – that we developed in collaboration with midwives, health care visitors, psychologists, a psychiatrist and expectant parents – in promoting mental wellbeing and a good transition to parenthood. To date the trial is the world’s largest trial of its kind

In 2014 I initiated The ABC of mental health in Denmark which I currently still lead. The ABC of mental health is inspired by the universal mental health promotion campaign Act-Belong-Commit developed at Curtin University, Australia. I have been in charge of the adaptation, implementation and evaluation of the programme into a Danish context. Act-Belong-Commit is the world’s first comprehensive, population-wide, community-based mental health promotion campaign. It provides a practical framework for health professionals and clinicians to promote mental health, and allows for implementation at the population level as well as in specific settings.

In Denmark the project is run as a large cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary partnership project. Since we first started the partnership, it has continued to grow and currently consists of 20 strong partners. The ABC of mental health is now referred to and recommended in the National Board of Health’s latest prevention package on mental health as well as in recommendations for the municipalities set forward by Local Government Denmark. Further, the project has spread to the Faroe Islands and Norway where my team and I have helped the upstart.

I regularly advise organizations and do consultancies for public authorities e.g. the Danish Health Authority. I also enjoy giving talks and facilitating workshops for various target groups. I participate actively in the public debate on public health via interviews for radio, TV, newspapers etc.

In 2015 I wrote my first book For mental health – a new perspective a handbook for practitioners and policymakers working with mental health promotion. In April my second handbook on mental health and mental health promotion was published Mental health for all – ABC in theory and practice. This too is aimed at practitioners and policymakers. Both books are in Danish.

Experience

  • –present
    Senior researcher, University of Southern Denmark

Education

  • 2010 
    University of Copenhagen, PhD