Physical And meNtal Health — PAN-Health TWG

Mission statement/aims

Physical And meNtal Health – PAN-Health  ECNP Thematic Working GroupPeople with severe mental disorders die up to 15 years earlier than the general population and around 70% of this mortality gap is due to physical disorders. Increased risk of physical disorders in those with mental disorders is due to reduced access to adequate physical health monitoring and care, increased risk of adverse health behaviours such as sedentary behaviour and poor diet and smoking, comorbid substance abuse, side-effects of psychiatric medications and other factors. Moreover, a bidirectional association is present, with physical disorders also increasing the risk of mental disorders. Individuals with comorbid mental and physical disorders pose specific challenges to service organization, with need of complex treatment and intense resource utilization.

The overarching goal of the ECNP Physical And meNtal Health (PAN-Health) Thematic Working Group (TWG) is to bring together leading clinical and non-clinical researchers from Europe, and beyond, across various disciplines, to inform directions to improving primary prevention, screening, diagnosis, early intervention and as a result outcome of physical disorders in those with mental disorders. In addition, PAN-Health TWG aims to generate evidence contributing to reducing the individual and societal burden and cost brought about by the disorders in all stages of the lifespan, from childhood to older adulthood.

The goal will be achieved through

  • Providing a platform facilitating collaboration between researchers to perform international, multidisciplinary and multi-method research on physical comorbidities in those with mental disorders;
  • Influencing policy makers to increase the funding and resources for research on the interplay between physical and mental health;
  • Collaboration with the industry involved in pharmacological interventions for brain and physical disorders, or involved in other medical devices, or technological solutions to monitor physical/mental health (i.e., smartphone apps, wearables);
  • Submission of collaborative international multi-centre study proposals to the EU Commission and/or other funding national and international agencies;
  • Maximize generalizability of findings, maximizing study power through sample sharing, and homogenization of research protocols across different countries;
  • Optimization of the collaboration between researchers and multidisciplinary mental health professionals working on identifying barriers to adequate physical healthcare and on integrating the care of physical comorbidities in those with mental disorders, at the individual and service level;
  • Data sharing, and/or development of privacy and data-protection laws-compliant IT approaches for remote/centralized homogeneous analyses of international datasets without sharing sensitive data across research groups and countries;
  • Produce clinical guidance on how to prevent, screen for, and treat medical disorders in those with mental disorders, with a specific focus on, but not limited to safety of psychopharmacologic agents.