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Research themes

Research themes of the mental health program:

1. Etiology, development and consequences of mental health

This theme includes epidemiological, observational research either in the community setting, the general practice setting and/or the psychiatric care setting. Within the Mental Health program, we have a rich source of large-scale community and/or patient cohorts covering the entire lifespan. Using these rich research infrastructures, this research line will increase our evidence-base for the occurrence, determinants and consequences of mental disorders. The objectives are to investigate: (1) genetic, clinical, psychosocial and environmental factors that contribute to mental well-being and the development of mental disorders; (2) the chronicity, staging and profiling of disorders; and (3) the impact of mental disorders for the individual patient, the patient’s social environment as well as the society at large.  

2. Prevention and treatment of mental health problems

This theme encompasses research that contributes to evidence-based information on innovative prevention and treatment interventions to improve mental health and reduce associated disability. This research line also uses insights from observational studies, but will mainly provide new insights through the conduct of various intervention studies (randomized clinical trials). These intervention studies are applied in the general population, primary care, mental healthcare and somatic healthcare settings. Studies are aimed at evaluating psychotherapeutic or psychotropic interventions as well as other emerging interventions, e.g. E-mental health interventions over the internet or mobile phone, stepped care interventions, running therapy, light-therapy and nutritional interventions.   

3. Soma & Psyche

The research theme Soma & Psyche aims to facilitate research on the interface between mental health and somatic disease and includes mental disorders as well as common mental reactions to somatic diseases (e.g., anxiety, hope, growth). Mental disorders are highly prevalent in patients with somatic diseases and, vice versa, psychiatric patients frequently have or develop coexisting somatic diseases. The studies investigate (1) mental health, mental disorders and quality of life in persons with various somatic diseases; (2) (underlying reasons for) increased somatic health problems in persons with psychiatric disorders; (3) specific conditions at the interface of soma & psyche such as chronic pain and somatoform symptoms and disorders; and (4) effects of specific intervention programs targeting combined somatic and mental health problems. This theme connects strongly to intramural research.