Start of the Large-Scale MENTUPP Intervention Project
The EU-funded project MENTUPP, Mental Health Promotion and Intervention in Occupational Settings, is delighted to announce that a large-scale testing of the MENTUPP Hub is currently under way in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the construction, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and healthcare sectors across Europe and Australia.
The MENTUPP Consortium aims to help SMEs build mentally healthy workplaces. Via the MENTUPP Hub, managers and employees can learn how to promote peer support, as well as improve their individual and organizational wellbeing. The MENTUPP Hub is an online and interactive training platform where users can follow a progress journey to improve both non-clinical aspects - job stress, wellbeing and burnout - and clinical aspects of mental health - depression and anxiety disorders - while learning how to communicate about mental health difficulties.
Materials available on the MENTUPP Hub have been developed by experts in the field of mental health and occupational psychology and are based on current evidence on creating healthy workplaces. The MENTUPP Project takes a multi-level approach which means that tailored materials are available for employees, managers and the entire workplace. Users can anonymously access all materials in the MENTUPP Hub in their local language and they can do an exercise, take a quiz, watch a video or read a session as many times as they like. We spend one-third of our life at work and how mental health issues are addressed in our workplace significantly affects our mental health, quality of life and wellbeing.
Mentally unhealthy workplaces can lead to an increase in employees taking sick leave and being unable to work, as well as a reduction in employees’ productivity. MENTUPP supports the UN Sustainable Development Goal: Good Health and Wellbeing by strengthening the capacity of all countries for prevention, early warning, and risk reduction of mental health issues. Opportunities to Participate The MENTUPP Intervention Project is currently conducted in Ireland, Germany, Finland, Spain, Kosovo, Albania, Hungary, The Netherlands, and Australia. There is still the opportunity for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Construction and Information and Communication Technology to join the MENTUPP Intervention Project.
We invite all SMEs with less than 250 employees in the health, construction, and ICT sectors across Europe and Australia to make mental health a priority in their workplace by joining the MENTUPP project. Interested in participating in or knowing more about MENTUPP and its benefits?
HRB invests €4.5 million in training to ensure research findings translate into better health
HRB Press Release: Published 22 November 2021
Three new HRB Collaborative Doctoral Awards will directly benefit people living with motor neurone disease and psychotic disorders, and those at risk of suicide and self-harm.
Under the Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDA) 2021 scheme, three expert teams will each receive €1.5 million. As well as providing structured training for up to five PhD candidates per award, each team will also conduct a research programme in areas of high relevance to health and care for each focus area.
According to Dr Mairead O’Driscoll, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board (HRB):
“This HRB funding will equip a new generation of health and social care researchers and professionals to ensure research done in academic and clinical settings is translated into better care. This will improve the lives of people and their loved ones affected by these difficult diagnoses.”
The three Collaborative Doctoral Awards are as follows:
1. Neurological Care
MIRANDA- Multidisciplinary Innovation and Research Advancing Neurological care in a Digital Age, hosted at Trinity College Dublin (TCD)
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a degenerative disease of the nervous system, which affects one in 300 people in Ireland. Those affected lose their ability to use their arms, legs and voice, and eventually their ability to breathe. Some people also experience changes in thinking. There is extensive evidence that the best outcomes for patients are achieved in a multidisciplinary setting, where healthcare professionals work together.
The MIRANDA consortium of experts in research and practice has designed a comprehensive training programme for healthcare professionals which includes:
1. Creation of an evidence-based eHealth solution for delivery of neuro-rehabilitation
2. Development of a knowledge bank representing multidisciplinary knowledge and decision-making processes
3. Evaluation of professional burden in healthcare professionals and development of guidelines for management
5. Design and clinical integration of digital technology to facilitate communication and remote monitoring of disease progression
6. Implementation of innovative, user-friendly solutions for care.
According to Dr Miriam Galvin of the TCD leadership team:
“"MIRANDA links clinical research and practice through novel and emerging telehealth solutions in patient-focussed research, provided by Trinity College Dublin, and in collaboration with the Health Service Executive. This programme will enable different clinical specialties develop essential research skills and integrate research with clinical practice.
“Capitalizing on existing collaborations with European centres, PhD researchers will develop smart technologies to enhance knowledge, minimize burden for health care professionals, patients and families, and expand the benefits of cutting-edge multidisciplinary care.”
PSychosis Ireland Structured Training and Research programme (PSI-STAR) hosted at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)
Psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder occur in about three in one hundred people. They usually start in adolescence or young adulthood and can have a devastating impact on a young person's education, family and social relationships and career.
Because of this, it is very important to identify people in the early stages of psychosis (or even just before it begins) so that the best treatments and supports can be offered as soon as possible. This will improve the chances of recovery and a good outcome.
According to Professor David Cotter of the RCSI leadership team:
“PSI-STAR will develop an all-Ireland integrated network of clinicians and researchers from the disciplines of psychiatry, nursing, social work, sociology and psychology, as well as policymakers, who will foster, support and implement findings of clinically-oriented research into psychosis care in Ireland.
“PSI-STAR also has very extensive public, patient and family involvement. Importantly, it also includes an academic with lived experience of psychosis to firmly embed Patient, Public and Carer Involvement (PPI) in this research.”
3. Suicide and self-harm
Early Identification of Suicide and Self-Harm Risk and Comorbid Mental and PHysical Disorders: An INterdisciplinary TrAining, Research and InterventioN Programme (MHAINTAIN) hosted at University College Cork (UCC)
MHAINTAIN will address the need for doctoral training and career paths to improve early identification and intervention in suicide and self-harm risk. It will comprise four research projects with the following focus areas:
- Early identification of risk of self-harm and suicide and comorbid mental disorders among people diagnosed with cancer and chronic respiratory illnesses
- The impact of an improved Cognitive Behaviour Therapy programme on self-harm patients in terms of neuropsychological and biological markers
- Early identification of risk factors for repeated self-harm in children and adolescents aged 10-18
- Services and supports to minimise risk of suicide, self-harm and comorbid mental and physical health outcomes during public health emergencies.
MHAINTAIN involves an interdisciplinary team of researchers, health professionals, and people with lived experience from the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF), University College Cork (UCC), University College Dublin (UCD), National Office for Suicide Prevention, and international partners from City University of London, Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith University, the University of Melbourne, and the University of Massachusetts.
According to Professor Ella Arensman of the NSRF-UCC leadership team:
“By integrating expertise from all relevant disciplines and involving a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives from patient advocacy, this innovative training programme will improve knowledge and expertise.
“In addition, the highly experienced partners will bring added value to the training and research programme by facilitating interdisciplinary research and training placements for the PhD scholars.”
The MENTUPP Consortium supports European Depression Day 2021 on October 1st, 2021, and stresses the negative effects of COVID-19 on mental health and the importance of the MENTUPP Hub to create healthy workplaces in Europe.
• Depression and anxiety are the most prevalent mental health difficulties in workplace settings in the EU. • The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased – in some countries even doubled – the prevalence of anxiety and depression in the EU.
• The MENTUPP Hub helps create healthy work environments in European and Australian SMEs in the construction, health and ICT sectors.
Depression and COVID-19
According to WHO, depression affects around 40 million people and is a primary cause of suicide deaths in Europe. One in five workers in Europe and Australia reports poor mental wellbeing, stress and depression.
Depression and anxiety are the most prevalent mental health difficulties in workplace settings in the EU. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased workplace stress and the prevalence of anxiety and depression in Europe which even doubled in some countries. Job uncertainty, financial instability, prolonged remote work and social isolation might have long-lasting implications for worker wellbeing, satisfaction, and productivity, impacting work engagement and control. The highest rates of mental distress were reported while COVID-19 deaths escalated and severe isolation measures were put in place.
Mental Health in SMEs
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) comprise more than 90% of EU and Australian businesses. Due to their insufficient resources to implement mental health promotion, lack of expertise and knowledge, and limited budget for occupational programmes, SMEs may be at heightened risk to mental health problems. “Most SMEs have limited capacity to address mental health promotion initiatives, and to provide mental health interventions to their staff. Therefore, businesses need solutions that offer additional support, but do not increase costs to SMEs that have suffered due to COVID-19”, says Prof. Ella Arensman, Coordinator of the EUfunded “MENTUPP: Mental Health Promotion and Intervention in Occupational Settings” project. The MENTUPP HUB for SMEs The MENTUPP consortium aims to improve mental health in the workplace by developing, implementing and evaluating an evidence-based, online tool for employers, managers and employees of SMEs in the construction, health and ICT sectors.
This online tool, the MENTUPP HUB, will contribute to:
• Reduction of absenteeism and improved productivity in the workplace;
• Earlier diagnosis of employees, managers, staff with a severe mental health disorder;
• Improved work satisfaction and healthier work environment;
• Reduction of stigma related to mental illness in the workplace.
The MENTUPP HUB is in its pilot phase and is currently being tested in nine countries in Europe and Australia. The cluster Randomised Controlled Trial of the Hub will commence in 2022.
For resources and treatment of depression, please visit: ifightdepression.com and Mates in Construction at mates.org.au.
MENTUPP (Mental Health Promotion and Intervention in Occupational Settings) is an EU-funded international research project with the primary aim to improve mental health in the workplace by developing, implementing and evaluating a multilevel intervention targeting mental health difficulties in SMEs in the construction, health and ICT sectors. The secondary aim is to reduce depression and suicidal behaviour at the workplace. MENTUPP consists of 17 global partners with expertise in mental health, suicide prevention, depression, mental illness stigma, implementation science, as well as health economics. Learn more about MENTUPP: https://www.mentuppproject.eu/ For further inquiries please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI): European Union
Published: 5th March 2021
From: Utrecht, Universiteit Utrecht
Co-authored by Dr Janas Harrington, School of Public Health, UCC
An assessment of EU-level policies influencing food environments and priority actions to create healthy food environments in the EU.
Important opportunities for the European Union to create healthier food environments:
Allow a VAT exemption of 0% for all fresh fruit and vegetables, set mandatory food composition targets for all food categories, and restrict or ban the (online) marketing of foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, salt or added sugars to children and adolescents up to 19 years. These are just a few of the measures which the European Union (EU) could put forward to create healthy food environments in EU member states. The EU is missing out on opportunities to support member states to create food environments that make the healthy choice the easy choice. This is shown by research led by Utrecht University and Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands. The research team recommends the EU to take immediate action.
Government policies are essential to create supportive food environments for making healthy choices. It is therefore an important tool in the fight against overweight, obesity and chronic diseases. And that is sorely needed, given the fact that in 2017 more than 50% of the adult population in the European Union (EU) was overweight of which 15% was obese. Individuals with obesity are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes, and to experience a more serious disease course when infected by COVID-19.
Assessment by independent experts
Sanne Djojosoeparto and dr. Carlijn Kamphuis (Utrecht University) and dr. Maartje Poelman (Wageningen University and Research) led the study on EU-level policies influencing food environments. The study was carried out in collaboration with European partners within the JPI Policy Evaluation Network (https://www.jpi-pen.eu/). In their study, 29 international and independent food- and health experts assessed the strength of EU-level policies. The researchers first created an overview of EU-level policies. They summarized existing policies regarding food environments for 26 pre-specified policy indicators (e.g. on food composition, labelling, promotion, provision, retail and trade and investment) and another set of 24 indicators covering infrastructure support domains (related to leadership, governance, monitoring, funding, platforms for interaction and health-in-all-policies). Then, experts assessed for each of the indicators the strength of EU-level policies. The researchers used the Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI), an international standardized tool and process to assess policies influencing food environments.
Few policies for healthy food environments
For the majority of the 26 policy indicators, experts rated current policies as weak (65%) or very weak/non-existent (23%). For example, there are no or very weak EU-level policies to restrict unhealthy food promotion to children on packaging. Likewise, there are no policies to increase taxes or levies on unhealthy foods. Only policies with respect to ‘food composition targets for industrially processed foods’, ‘ingredient lists and nutrient declarations’ and ‘nutrition and health claims’ were rated to be of moderate strength.
EU infrastructure support was rated somewhat better. Experts rated 63% of the 24 indicators as moderate and ‘public access to nutrition information’ was rated strong by the experts. EU infrastructure support was assessed as weak on for example ‘clear population intake targets’, ‘a comprehensive implementation plan for nutrition’, and ‘priorities for reducing health inequalities or protecting vulnerable populations’.
Integrated and comprehensive approach to create healthy food environments
Researcher Sanne Djojosoeparto says: “We would like to present this report to the European Commission so that they can improve their current policies. Already, the Farm to Fork Strategy includes some actions to improve food environments. However, our study shows that a more integrated and comprehensive approach is needed to stimulate and support EU member states in creating healthy food environments.”
This research has been published on the 5th of March 2021 in a report: The Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI): European Union. An assessment of EU-level policies influencing food environments and priority actions to create healthy food environments in the EU. Utrecht, Universiteit Utrecht, 2021.
Djojosoeparto SK, Kamphuis CBM, Vandevijvere S, Harrington JM and Poelman MP, on behalf of the JPI-HDHL Policy Evaluation Network.
For more information or enquiries: Channah Durlacher| Press and communication Wageningen Economic Research/ Social Sciences Group | 0031642514262 |email@example.com
The Food-EPI Ireland Report
Published: 9th November 2020
From: School of Public Health, University College Cork
Ireland is falling behind best practice on measures to improve Irish food habits in some areas, report finds:
- First-of-its-kind report compares Ireland’s food policies to international standards.
- Experts recommend no-fry-zones, taxes on unhealthy foods to subsidise healthy options.
- Ireland is at international best practice in monitoring overweight and obesity prevalence in the population and occurrence rates for the main diet-related disease.
Ireland falls behind international best practice for implementing some of the policies needed to tackle obesity and other non-communicable diseases, a ground-breaking new report from University College Cork has found.
Its findings have led to calls for a reform of Ireland’s ‘food environment’ - the wide range of interconnected factors such as food production, processing, marketing, and distribution, that characterise our food system and largely determine our dietary intakes.
The first Irish Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) has highlighted how Ireland compared poorly with other countries when it comes to rolling out initiatives such as so-called ‘no fry zones’, school food policies, and measures aimed at reducing the marketing of unhealthy food to children in the media and online.
The Food-EPI Ireland study is led by Dr. Janas Harrington at UCC’s School of Public Health, and is the first of its kind to benchmark the Irish Government’s level of support for improving the healthiness of the food environment against international best practice.
The report was conducted as part of a wider European project, the Policy Evaluation Network (PEN) in collaboration with research groups from countries such as The Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Poland and New Zealand.
It compared the Irish food environment to international standards, and found that Ireland rates well in ensuring the public has access to nutritional information and key documents through freedom of information legislation.
It also found Ireland is also at international best practice in monitoring overweight and obesity prevalence in the population and occurrence rates for the main diet-related disease and its risk factors. Ireland also rated well for implementing procedures to support evidence-informed policymaking.
However, it found Ireland lags behind international best practice when it comes to:
- marketing unhealthy food to children
- the implementation of ‘no fry zones’
- the use of fiscal policies to support healthy food choices,
- providing support for companies to provide healthy eating options to employees
- the roll-out of evidence-informed labelling for front-of-pack and
- menu boards
- the need for food composition targets/standards for processed foods.
Four implementation gaps were identified relating to government policy on key aspects of the food environment:
- a lack of government action on the introduction of targets for out-of-home meals,
- failure to restrict the promotion of unhealthy foods to children on food packaging
- no discernible progress towards establishing public sector procurement standards for food service activities to provide and promote healthy food choices,
- failure to implement policies that encourage availability of outlets selling nutritious foods.
“The government needs to seize an opportunity to improve the diets of the Irish population, prevent obesity and diet-related non communicable diseases by investing in the kind of policies and programmes which have demonstrated success in a number of countries,” Dr Harrington said.
“The benefits are two-fold - aside from improving the health of the general population, these measures are highly cost effective, and in the long-run can help counteract the rising healthcare costs associated with obesity and diet-related non communicable diseases,” she said.
Five priority policy recommendations arising from the report calls for:
- nutritional standards for schools including tuck shops,
- the establishment of a committee to monitor and evaluate food-related income support programmes for vulnerable population groups,
- the ring-fencing of tax on unhealth food to subsidise healthy options for disadvantaged groups in the community,
- the introduction of “No Fry Zone” planning legislation to prohibit the placement of unhealthy food outlets within 400m of primary and secondary schools,
- the implementation of a comprehensive policy on nutrition standards for food and beverage provision in the public sector.
The Food-EPI is an initiative of the INFORMAS Network (International Network for Food and Obesity/NCDs Research, Monitoring and Action Support) and was conducted between January 2018 to June 2020 with a panel of independent and government public health experts.
The expert panel consisted of 20 representatives from academia, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Safefood, HSE, and charity organisations.
For further information, please contact Dr Janas Harrington firstname.lastname@example.org
Master of Public Health Programme - Government's Jobs Stimulus package
From: School of Public Health, University College Cork
Published: 28th October 2020
Master of Public Health Programme - Government's Jobs Stimulus package
The School of Public Health proudly announces that the Campus-Based Master of Public Health Programme (MPH) will open for new applicants during the current academic year under the Governments Jobs Stimulus package. The new intake of students will complete first semester modules in a separate cohort and will then join the existing 20/21 cohort in the second semester.
The Jobs Stimulus package aims to help get people back to work, upskill workers and build economic confidence while continuing to manage the impact of COVID-19. The funding has been approved to support the provision of 11,597 places on short, modular courses together with an additional 2,555 postgraduate places. Please visit Gov.ie and the Higher Education Authority webpages for further information on the launch.
On the announcement, Prof. Ivan Perry, Dean of the School of Public Health said:
“This is an exciting opportunity for those returning to the workplace, those in employment, the formerly self-employed and recent graduates who wish to contribute to Ireland’s response to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the most significant public health crisis in over 100 years. The Master of Public Health programme will provide you with the knowledge and skills to address other major global and national public health issues, including the health and societal consequences of climate change, tobacco control and the global obesity pandemic."
UCC’s MPH programme aims to meet the increasing demand for highly trained public health specialists and is an internationally recognised specialist training programme in public health. The programme is designed to prepare graduates to investigate, evaluate and address public health challenges, whatever their professional background. The programme will equip graduates with the core knowledge and specialised skills necessary to make a real difference in public health. This is a full-time and structured programme, delivered over 12 months. There are now a wide range of career opportunities in public health as Ireland invests in public health infrastructure in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and other public health issues.
To find out more about the programme click here.
Courses funded under the package will be open to returners to the workforce, those in employment, the formerly self-employed and recent graduates. All participants, with the exception of returners to the workforce, will contribute 10% of the course cost.
Eligible participants must have at least a level 8 qualification or equivalent prior to acceptance onto a course. Exact academic eligibility requirements for the MPH programme are outlined below:
- All applicants will be required to write a 300-word statement demonstrating suitability to undertake a Master of Public Health.
- All candidates are required to meet one of the following:
- Possess a NFQ level 8 degree in a relevant subject area (minimum 2H1)
- Possess a NFQ level 9 postgraduate diploma in a relevant subject area (minimum 2H1).
Relevant subject areas are Biological Sciences, Medical and Health Sciences, Public Health and Social Sciences.
Eligible Applicants must also be ordinarily resident in Ireland and must meet the nationality and EU residency rules as aligned to Springboard as detailed here.
The MPH programme has developed and maintained strong links with the Master of Dental Public Health and the MA Health and Society programmes within UCC. Both programmes will also open for new applicants under the Jobs Stimulus package.
On the announcement, Prof. Ivan Perry, Dean of the School of Public Health said:
“The MA in Health & Society is based on collaboration with the Master of Public Health (MPH) in UCC's School of Public Health. This is an exciting collaboration between two academic programmes focused on the societal determinants of health and wellbeing, both of which are now open for new applicants under the Governments Jobs Stimulus package."
Don Ross, Department of Philosophy UCC, said:
“The importance of the MA in Health and Society lies in its multidisciplinary nature. By welcoming students from a variety of medical, philosophical, and social science backgrounds, it allows for a diverse group to learn to make a difference in the practice and management of health—something we all understand the significance of today.”