How our research benefits to society
One in four persons experiences an episode of mental disorder in their lifetime. They not only lead to tremendous individual suffering for patients and those close to them, but mental disorders combined rank first in terms of population disease burden and loss of productivity, with economic costs in the Netherland alone estimated at 22 billion euros per year. Evidence-based stepwise psychotherapeutic and pharmacological treatment protocols for major mental disorders are widely implemented, but 20-30% of patients do not have a satisfactory response to these treatments. They constitute the highest disease burden, societal and treatment costs, and may face despair and suicidal ideation. Better treatments are urgently needed. It is our aim to help develop more effective treatments for these patients.
Psychedelics also present us with major scientific challenges. Studying the underlying mechanisms of these treatments across mental disorders, will help us uncover generic underlying mechanisms of psychopathology, and develop more effective treatments.
It is our objective to ensure that advances in psychedelic research contribute to better treatment for mental disorders, and to safeguard sustainable, responsible and safe integration of psychedelic therapy in mainstream mental health care. We aim to achieve this by bringing together therapeutic knowledge and scientific expertise from experts; ensuring that therapists are well trained; that standards are development around the education, screening, and preparation of patients; the development of safe and comfortable treatment settings that maximize safety for patients and that are conducive to beneficial experiences; and to ensure long-term after-care, meaning-making and integration with additional (conventional) therapies in the healthcare system. If findings are suceesful, we will also help implement these treatments in mental healthcare. This requires thorough training and tutoring a new generation of multidisciplinary clinicians and researchers from different countries and cultures, and collaborate with patients and caregivers in tailoring research to their needs and questions.
Given the enormous personal and public health impact of mental disorders, we collaborate closely with other academic partners, mental health institutions, healthcare insurers, and policymakers on both a national and international level.