Mental health in 'Check your health' – The effect of assessing mental health  in preventive health checks offered to 30-49 year-olds

Background:

Poor mental health is an increasing public health problem with high human, social and economic costs. Poor mental health is a compound of diagnosable mental disorders, other mental health problems, and impaired functioning associated with distress.

The 30-49 year olds are of working age and this age span holds an increased incidence of mental health problems. Early awareness of mental health problems allows for early treatment. Thus, there is a potential to enhance the person’s ability to cope with everyday challenges, increase productivity, and to contribute to the community. Assessment of mental health in preventive health checks might be a way of identifying unacknowledged mental health problems in the general population.

‘Check Your Health’ is a community-based preventive health check offered to 30-49 year-olds in Randers Municipality. The health checks are performed in the local health center with a subsequent consultation with the individual’s general practitioner.

Poor mental health is defined as a mental component summary (MCS) score of <35.76 on the 12-item short-form health survey (SF-12). Scores below this cut-point is known to be associated with moderate to severe disability and to depressive and anxiety disorders. 

Objective:

The aim of the PhD project is to evaluate the effect of assessing mental health in general preventive health checks offered to Danish 30-49 year-olds. 

Perspectives:

The project will contribute with new knowledge in the fields of mental health and health check, specifically for decision-makers, on implementing preventive health checks in Denmark.