Mood disorders cause personal suffering and societal costs. To reduce the burden of mood-related disorders, we want to better understand how mood problems start and progress, and how this differs among individuals. This knowledge will help us develop novel personalised interventions.

Within our ICPE research programme, we study biological, psychological, and social factors that play a role in the onset and course of mood problems. We study a broad range of processes, varying from mood disorders that develop over many years, to problems that occur within weeks or even days.

We combine longitudinal epidemiological studies using data from large cohorts such as TRAILS, NESDA, and Lifelines, with in-depth diary studies, which help us understand mood fluctuations and related factors in daily life.

We aim to:

  • understand mechanisms and pathways involved in the development of mood disorders;
  • develop better, more personalised prevention and treatment strategies.
Relevance

Our research improves daily mood

Mood disorders are becoming an alarmingly fast growing health problem. For example, over 100 million people are suffering from depression around the globe. The negative consequences of these disorders are huge. Mood disorders not only affect everyday life of individuals who suffer from these problems, but also reduce productivity and participation and so have major impact on society.

Our research helps prevent and treat mood disorders tailored to patients’ individual needs, thus improving their day-to-day mood, productivity and participation in society.

Next to transferring our knowledge to practice and fellow scientists, we share our knowledge to a broader audience. Since we want everyone to understand mood problems and how to deal with them, we are reaching out to the general public.

  • We have developed a free online course on mental health to teach young people how to recognise common mental problems and what they can do about them. The course material consists of explanation videos, personal stories, animation videos, short exercises and interviews.

    This course is interesting for:

    • young people from the age of 14;
    • teachers: the modules can be incorporated in the curriculum or can count for independent study points;
    • parents and others who are interested in young people’s mental health.

    More information about the online open course

    The development of this MOOC was financially supported by EIT Health.

  • Mental disorders are very common and can have a big impact on daily life. They can occur with varying degrees of severity and manifest in different ways. This is the case for different types of mental illnesses, such as depression or psychosis.

    Early recognition of mental disorders is important, because offering the right interventions helps individuals deal with their current problems and may prevent mental illness from developing further. Different interventions are possible for different degrees of severity. Talking about mental illness is important to better understand it, and to understand what it means to live with it.

    Hanneke Wigman explains in this TEDx Talks why mental health may concern all of us.

  • We are developing an interface to facilitate the use of personalized diaries in clinical practice. The interface is called PETRA: PErsonalised Treatment Real-time Assessment.

    Personalised diaries can help to improve patients’ and clinicians’ insight in the development of mental health problems and factors that influence this. The aim of PETRA is to improve patient-clinician relationships, increase patients’ self-management, guide treatment decisions, and make care more efficient.