Janne Brammer Damsgaard

Ekstern lektor

Janne Brammer Damsgaard


Short description of research field

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 in 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, initiative (research centre) for Hope, Dreams and Wellbeing.


Current research activities

  • “Sang for Sindet på Den Jyske Sangskole. En undersøgelse af korsangs betydning for deltagerne”, SIND Herning Ikast-Brande, Den Jyske Sangskole & Aarhus University
  • "How is Psychiatric Care Understood seen From a Student Perspective: Which Personal Competences and Educational Interventions can Empower Processes leading to Personal and Social Recovery?", Psychiatric Research Unit West, VIA University College Horsens & Aarhus University
  • "Betydningen af ufrivillig hjemmearbejdsplads", UC Syd & Aarhus University


Research Initiative/Partnership/Centre for Hopes, Dreams and Wellbeing – a vision

In 2022 the municipality of Herning will see the building of Domus Vita; House of Life, with focus on Dwelling, Living, Learning.

The project is a new and innovative cooperation among the cooperative housing society Fruehoejgaard, Herning Municipality, the independent institution Minihoejskolen (day folk high school) and SIND Herning Ikast-Brande.

The House of Life will contain ordinary homes for mentally vulnerable young people, families, singe people, older people and ‘ordinary’ young people. The floor level will house the Minihoejskole. Teaching activities and the folk high school community as such will contribute to engaging in hobbies, exploring new interests and gain further knowledge for both students and other citizens. The intention is to employ a ‘receptionist’ in the House, who will act as a sort of host and who can guide citizens in their search for further relevant assistance.

In order to support the development and use of ‘best knowledge’ it is the vision that The House of Life can be a cooperation between SIND, Herning municipality and Department of Public Health, Aarhus University “The partnership /centre for Hopes, Dreams and Well-Being”. When the House is ready, the intention is to establish a research facility (centre) in the middle of the house. Here the facility/center is going to include new and innovative perspectives and methods as well as create and gain knowledge that may further wellbeing and mental health in accordance with the hopes, dreams, wishes and experiences of the citizens.

Researchers, users, relatives, professionals and other collaborators will work in the interplay between the lived life and public as well as private involvement. In this way the aim is to promote research projects within: i) Self-knowledge and the understanding of other people; ii) Development of personal qualities with citizens and professionals in order to enhance mental well-being and relational competencies; iii) Organizational frames where interaction and exchange between individuals has a high priority. The vision is to contribute to a more inclusive society, where the value of diversity is in focus. On this background The House of Life and its collaborators will join forces with the research facility/centre for Hopes, Dreams and WellBeing and support a new agenda for ‘a different kind of help’ - “Another Help” - in furtherance of mental health locally, nationally and internationally.


International research cooperation with professor Ann Phoenix 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 artistic expressions fx the 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.


Results PhD

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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