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At the start

The idea of the Roads to Resilience initiative emerged from the

international networking of the Pfalzklinikum in the Transnational

Leadership Program and the co-operation with the Norlien Foundation

in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. By the end, attitudes and structures

concerning the subject of mental health will have undergone measurable

and noticeable changes, and preventive and health-preserving measures

will have been expanded.

The resilience initiative is still in its infancy, and it is therefore necessary

to take many steps, continue networking and find sponsors. Yet a number

of activities, particularly in the field of initiatives for mental health at work,

have been instigated in the region. As the framework concept shows,

there is power of ‘social communication’ for an innovative preventive

concept – social communication can be preventive communication.


ishing to strengthen the German Palatinate region, experts

in science, health and social policy from Pfalzklinikum

have wanted to draw attention to the Roads to Resilience

initiative, which brings benefits to the region. At Kurhaus Trifels in

Bindersbach, the policy officers highlighted this innovative approach to

mental health during a three-day event in March.

The group aims to take new directions in mental health: instead of

merely concentrating on the treatment of people that are already ill, the

focus in the future will be on prevention. The key to taking this approach

is resilience.


Resilience is the skill needed to cope with changes and the difficulties

of life, as well as coping with problems under adverse conditions. We

must not only build on strengthening factors and helping to reduce risks

for individuals, as organisations (e.g. companies and schools),

communities and cities can also promote resilience.

In the group of contributors that participated in the Bindersbach

workshop, there were discussions of ideas of what a resilient Palatinate

region would look like in 2025. With this vision in mind, Pfalzklinikum

policy officers collected ideas for possible activities and target groups;

the common initiative is aimed at bringing all activities under

one umbrella.

A second core interest of the resilience initiative is that different public

opinions on mental health and prevention are needed to be able to

change the health system and society to become fully sustainable.

Consequently, the group co-operates with the FrameWorks Institute,

based in Washington, DC in the United States. This research institute

helps non-profit organisations to find the strategically appropriate

messages in order to draw the citizens’, as well as the politicians’,

attention to important subjects. This method has been used successfully

in North America and, since the end of 2014, in Europe, as well, notably

in Blackpool, United Kingdom.

Roads to Resilience

Pfalzklinikum chief executive

Paul Bomke

outlines the Roads to Resilience

initiative, where attention is turned to prevention rather than treatment alone



H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : H E A L T H & W E L L B E I N G

Paul Bomke




2 0 2 0

Mental health for the elderly

Running between 2014 and 2015, the two-stage €306m

‘Personalising health and care’ call included specific funding for

‘Promoting mental wellbeing in the ageing population’. Setting out the

research sub-call, the European Commission recognised that the

“burden posed by mental and neurological conditions on older citizens

has a significant impact on their working capacity, quality of life and

that of their caregivers, and interacts with the course and treatment of

comorbidities which are frequently associated with old age”.

The Commission added that whilst a number of mental conditions

also affecting older people are not confined to this portion of the

population and “may have their origins in events experienced earlier

in the lifespan, they are often present in clinical forms specific to

older people and may require adapted therapeutic approaches”.

The ‘Personalising health and care’ call ran from 30 July 2014 until

21 April 2015 and is part of the health objective under the Societal

Challenges pillar.