Hospital del Mar Research Institute Hospital del Mar Research Institute

Health services - Research lines Jordi Alonso


The EU Contribution to the World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys Initiative

Research team: J Alonso (Coordinador), Ronny Bruffaerts, Brendan Bunting, Jose Miguel Caldas de Almeida, Silvia Florescu, Josep-Maria Haro, Viviane Kovess, Toma Tomov, Gema Vilagut.

Other collaborators: S Abad, J Almansa, A Burón, M Codony, A Gabilondo, M García-Durán, O Gröne; M Martínez, S Rojas, A Rodríguez, G Vilagut.


  • ESEMeD. El European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD) is the first large-scale survey to comprehensively collect data on the prevalence, risk factors, disability and use of healthcare services associated with mood, anxiety and alcohol-related disorders throughout Europe. Findings are based on a sample of 21,425 non-institutionalized adults, representative of an overall population of more than 212 million from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain. In total, 25.9% of participants reported a lifetime presence of any mental disorder and 11.5% had experienced a mental disorder during the past 12 months. Females, younger participants, the unmarried and the unemployed were more at risk, and comorbidity was prevalent. Associated levels of disability and reductions in quality of life exceeded levels seen in patients with chronic physical conditions; nevertheless, only 36.8% of participants with a mood disorder and 20.6% with an anxiety disorder sought help from healthcare services; of these, 22.9% received no treatment. ESEMeD data provide an epidemiological basis for reform of mental health policy within Europe.
  • EPREMED. The EPREMED study group aims to improve the understanding of mental health burden, determinants, and services needs; as well as to increase and improve the practices and potential of mental health policy information in Europe by assuring the maximum impact of the recently completed ESEMeD/MHEDEA and other related European studies through analyses, data synthesis and translation, and effective dissemination to the relevant stakeholders. To do so, it has conducted an in depth-analysis, producing a high quantitative and qualitative level of publications; and has further developed an important dissemination and training strategy. By formal evaluation of the dissemination and through provision of training and mobility, the project helped at consolidating a multidisciplinary community better able to address mental health policy information research in Europe. EPREMED builds on a previous successful research collaboration, and focuses on the crucial area of mental health (disorders prevalence and burden; risk factors including poverty, immigration and religion; and services utilisation, with emphasis on unmet need for care). This fills a gap in evidence-based European policy making and feeds another PHP project: Euro Health Expectancy Monitoring Unit -EHEMU.
  • EU-WMH. The EU-WMH will analyse in a systematic manner the burden of mental health diseases, focusing on a gender and inequalities perspective according to population surveys carried in 10 European countries and 2 neighbouring countries. The three reports produced will represent a highly representative source of information for the policy-makers, and will be useful in the future for evaluating public mental health in Europe.

Status: ESEMED - 2000 – 2004 (recollida dades 2001-03), EPREMED - 2005 - 2008, EU-WMH - 2009 – 2010 (Febrer 2011).

Key Words: Mental Health, burden of disease, gender differences, social inequalities in health, epidemiology, health surveys, mental health policies.

Funding: E.U. Commission (QLG5-CT-1999-01042; SANCO 20040123; SANCO2008 EU-WMH A/101085), (FIS 00/0028-02), GlaxoSmithKline.

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