Aarhus Universitets segl

Janne Brammer Damsgaard

Ekstern lektor

Janne Brammer Damsgaard



In 2030 loneliness and depression will be the overall widespread disease in Western countries. This challenges health in general and mental health in particular and call for ANOTHER HELP. The following three areas define my research field:

  • Mental health activities e.g. exploring existential aspects and the Arts and Humanities
  • Educational perspectives e.g. exploring curricula enhancing the knowledge and education within mental health
  • Personal and social recovery e.g. exploring empowering and challenging individual and societal aspects promoting mental health

To strengthen the results and implications for practice my research unfold in an intersectional co-operation - e.g. between community, region, private stakeholders/organisations and citizens and the vision is to establish a partnership, an initiative (a research centre or laboratory) for Hope, Dreams and Wellbeing.



School of Culture and Society, Philosophy, Aarhus University:

Sang, Sprog og Samvær "Singing, Language and Relation", Den Jyske Sangskole



Research Initiative/Partnership/Laboratory/Centre for Hope, Dreams and Wellbeing

Der er behov for etablering af et forsknings-, kompetence- og videns-hub (HUB, Laboratorie eller Center for Håb, Drømme og Trivsel) baseret på tværgående samarbejder i de sammenhænge (i civilsamfundet), som vi borgere interagerer i - eksempelvis lokale foreninger og samlingssteder (offentlige eller private) og uddannelsesknudepunkter (Damsgaard and Phoenix, 2022, Damsgaard and Angel, 2021). Og der er brug for at tænke i nye, kreative og meningsgivende møder og initiativer på kryds af traditionelle platforme.

HUB/Laboratorie/Center for Håb, Drømme og Trivsel skal være et samlingspunkt, der gennem forsknings- udviklings- og uddannelsesaktiviteter skaber ny viden og nye forståelser, der formidles nationalt og internationalt, så virkninger implementeres i vores hverdagsliv.  Indsatsen skal være med til at sætte en ny dagsorden for En Anden Hjælp til fremme af mental sundhed.



Kultur og Natur. At komme sig
Når vi taler om at komme sig, handler en del af den personlige udviklingsproces om at blive i stand til at leve et liv, der giver mening. Dette indebærer blandt andet (gen)dannelse af meningsfulde aktiviteter, sociale relationer og roller, og her viser forskningen, at bl.a. aktiviteter indenfor kultur og natur kan være et vigtigt redskab i forhold til identitet, etablering af sociale kontakter og skabelse af ’frirum’ fra negative tanker (Clift, 2020, Damsgaard and Brinkmann, 2022, Damsgaard and Jensen, 2021, Høegmark et al., 2020). I disse praksisser knytter konkrete indsatser an til de ressourcer, deltagelsesmuligheder og handlerum, som en person har. I det perspektiv ses ’sundhed’ i sammenhæng med menneskers fysiske, psykiske og sociale situation, herunder aktuelle forhold, som begrænser og muliggør. På denne måde kan man sige, at der i en sådan sundhedspraksis interveneres i relation til livskvalitet og trivsel, og at den fysiske og psykiske sygdom eller begrænsning træder i baggrunden. Herved handler sundhedspotentialet om at skabe konkrete deltagelsesmuligheder ud fra den enkeltes livsverden, aktuelle handlerum og motivation (Lau et al., 2012). 



With professor Ann Phoenix World of Change. Thomas Coram Research Unit, Social Research Institute, UCL, Institute of Education, University College London.

Key aspects in research: Self-understanding, Creativity, Education.

The project documented the importance of understanding and improving the competences of health professionals and how they may be advanced by helping them to develop the self-understanding essential to being wise practitioners. The results is informed by reflections by Masters students (and registered nurses) participating in a university program ‘Patient and user focused nursing.’ The results also includes an invitation to include creative expressions e.g. lyrics from a song reflecting on how schools, teachers and practitioners (if not alert) can drain curiosity and hinder openness and sensitivity to understanding ourselves and the other.



Key aspects in research: Connectedness, Meaning, Hope, Recovery.

Patients suffering from back pain describe not being taken seriously and being met with insinuations about trying to cheat their way into social benefits. This seems to create feelings of existential insecurity, doubt and social isolation; and patients undergoing spinal fusion surgery are facing particularly serious challenges because this surgical procedure is usually the last therapeutic option available and because many bring to the encounter distressing experiences from contact with several public sectors, multiple examinations and previously unsuccessful treatments.

In my PhD thesis it was documented that it is crucial that healthcare professionals engage with the patients’ lived experiences and recognise the importance of these experiences to the patients’ recovery process. In clinical practice, this implies that healthcare professionals should embrace a wider interpretation of the concepts of care and treatment; one that encompasses not only the biomedical perspective, but also the biopsychosocial perspective. During the discharge process and during the follow-up on treatment, it is therefore crucial that care resources are assigned not only to tasks concerned with the patient’s physical recovery, but also to any tasks addressing the individual’s existential needs. Such tasks may be assigned, as appropriate, to the surgery ward and to any supportive organisational entities, be they social counsellors, employment officers, unions, family doctor, psychologist or rehabilitation centre. Of particular importance is that the surgery ward assumes a coordinating role and co-responsibility for involving the necessary collaborating partners upon the patient’s discharge; and that it does so on the basis of the patient’s lived experience ascertained from communicating with the patient.

Within this perspective it is important that healthcare professionals acknowledge and understand that care does not stop until the patient has re-found stability and meaning in life. It is crucial for the healthcare professionals to establish connection (congruence) between important events in the patients’ lives, creating meaning (and hope) within their present life and the future to come. Such feelings of connectedness can be created within an acknowledging relation between the patients and the healthcare professionals.

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