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The research center has three main focal points: 1) healthy lifestyles, 2) prosocial behaviour (including pro-environmental behaviour), and 3) acceptance, sense of coherence and commitment. These form different but complimentary angles to improve (mental) health and well-being. 

Mental health issues represent a high disease burden and have a serious societal impact. Depression, for example, is one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The prevalence of mental health issues is moreover increasing in the last decade. The majority of mental health problems first occur in adolescence and young adulthood, and problems related to mental health issues track into later life, such as lower employment opportunities and relational problems. This is the case even after successful treatment. Prevention of mental health issues is therefore key. As barriers to searching treatment, such as a lack of mental health literacy and a preference for solving problems autonomously delay any help with on average 5-10 years, it is crucial for a preventive approach to strengthen personal, social and community resources to avoid mental health issues. A focus on well-being and positive mental health may be one such approach in prevention of mental disorders. Indeed, longitudinal research has demonstrated that a higher level of mental well-being protects against the development of mental disorders at a later time.

PACE focuses on a socio-ecological perspective of health and well-being, acknowledging that healthy lifestyles can impact both physical, social and mental health; that humans are part of their environment and that individual health therefore cannot be successfully promoted without also taking environmental and planetary health into account; and that body and mind are intricately connected. 

Keywords: (mental) health promotion, healthy lifestyles (e.g., physical activity, healthy diet, sexual health, sleep), prevention of mental health problems, prosocial behaviour, pro-environmental behaviour, digital health interventions, positive psychology, mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy 


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