Size and Burden of Mental Disorders in Europe

ECNP’s ‘Size and Burden of Mental Disorders in Europe’ study, a three-year project led by ECNP Vice-President Hans-Ulrich Wittchen and involving hundreds of researchers, is the largest epidemiological study of its kind since the predecessor project in 2005.

The study report, presented at the 24th ECNP Congress, 3-7 September 2011 in Paris, is the definitive statement on the current condition of Europe’s mental health.

Amongst its results, the study found that every year 38% of the EU population – or 164.7 million people (out of 514 million) – suffers from one or more mental disorder.

Disorders of the brain account for over 27% of Europe’s disability-adjusted disease (DALY) burden, more than any other disease area. And yet treatment provision is highly deficient, with medication costs accounting for less than 10% of the total cost burden.

The study’s impact has already been significant. Within days of its release, hundreds of articles had appeared in newspapers and periodicals around the world. The report’s recommendations – for mental disorders to become an EU priority, for research to be stepped up, for improved professional health education and better public awareness – promise to have a major influence on European policy-makers and Europe’s mental health agenda.

The report is published in the September issue of European Neuropsychopharmacology.

The companion study, ‘The cost of disorders of the brain in Europe 2010,’ focusing on the cost dimension, was published in the October edition of European Neuropsychopharmacology.