Mental health – challenges can only be solved through innovative partnerships

Anxiety, depression, stress and poor well-being. Poor mental well-being has become one of Denmark’s most expensive and worrying health challenges. The challenges are visible in schools, among young people, in the workplace and among the elderly.

This discussion paper has previously been published in

Analyses show that almost half of young people experience a degree of poor mental well-being. One in ten Danes is affected by anxiety, and numbers from the Danish Health Authority show that stress causes more than three million extra sick days a year, corresponding to 13,000 full-time jobs.

The area is complex, partly because the range of diagnoses is enormous, and Danes of all ages are affected. In addition, the responsibility for treatment is distributed across several public sectors and involves many actors and professional groups.

Therefore, new innovative solutions are needed.

But because mental health challenges are so complex and have so many angles, we need to bring together people from very different backgrounds to create meaningful outcomes. We believe that collaboration between the public and private sectors is the most effective strategy to tackle the complex challenges facing the healthcare sector. Committed partnerships are the strongest model to meet the challenges and improve mental health. By bringing together different competencies and perspectives, we can generate new knowledge and improve the skills of those involved – thus expanding and strengthening the partnership.

Therefore, we must form binding, long-term partnerships between the business community, private organizations, knowledge institutions such as universities and university colleges as well as the health care system in the state, region, and municipality. We must commit to working together on this difficult challenge so that we can gather knowledge and experience on needs, best practices, and opportunities for new solutions.

Lighthouse Life Science is a cross-sectoral partnership that brings together both large and small companies, municipalities, hospitals, knowledge institutions and a wide range of other organizations. The purpose is to generate knowledge and results on how to use public-private collaboration to tackle the major health challenges. Since Lighthouse Life Science was established by the Danish Business Authority in 2021, 315 companies have engaged in the partnership, and the partnership model has aroused international interest. The partners have shared experiences in the European Commission, Italy, the United States and Canada, among others.

In 2024, Lighthouse Life Science will focus on challenges within mental well-being. We will support the government’s 10-year plan for psychiatry and mental health by focusing on the three highest priority focus areas:

  • Building an easily accessible offer in the municipalities for children and young people in mental distress and with symptoms of mental disorder
  • Strengthened efforts for people with severe mental disorders
  • Information and destigmatization efforts, e.g. in workplaces.

We believe that the challenges in these areas require many different competencies and perspectives, and therefore for each focus area we will create collaborations that engage suppliers and recipients, create new innovative solutions, and gather valuable knowledge.

Experience from the first two years of life with Lighthouse Life Science shows good results. Only by combining insight and knowledge from both the private and the public sector can we create differentiated, personalized treatment based on professional assessments, as the recommendations read.

We look forward to working together in 2024.

Read more: Open national pool

Karin Jexner Hamberg is chairman of Lighthouse Life Science
Diana Arsovic Nielsen is chairman of the steering committee of Lighthouse Life Science

Lighthouse Life Science is co-funded by the European Union.