Promoting mental wellbeing: developing a theoretically and empirically sound complex intervention

S. L. Millar, M. Donnelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)



This paper describes the development of a complex intervention to promote mental wellbeing using the revised framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions produced by the UK Medical Research Council (UKMRC).


Application of the first two phases of the framework is described—development and feasibility and piloting. The theoretical case and evidence base were examined analytically to explicate the theoretical and empirical foundations of the intervention. These findings informed the design of a 12-week mental wellbeing promotion programme providing early intervention for people showing signs of mental health difficulties. The programme is based on the theoretical constructs of self-efficacy, self-esteem, purpose in life, resilience and social support and comprises 10 steps. A mixed methods approach was used to conduct a feasibility study with community and voluntary sector service users and in primary care.


A significant increase in mental wellbeing was observed following participation in the intervention. Qualitative data corroborated this finding and suggested that the intervention was feasible to deliver and acceptable to participants, facilitators and health professionals.


The revised UKMRC framework can be successfully applied to the development of public health interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-284
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number2
Early online date02 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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