This Research Priority Area aims to unravel new pathways to improve Urban Mental Health that takes into account the complexities and dynamics of mental health problems and mental health disorders in an urban environment.
There is much to gain from urban mental health research. Urban living is on the rise: more than 50 percent of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to rise to 66 percent by 2050. Urban environments are characterized by features that make city life not only economically attractive and exciting, but also more challenging and stressful than rural environments (‘urban stress’), which influences mental health. Therefore, the research area benefits society with joint approaches to new interventions and policy making towards the promotion of mental health.
In this interdisciplinary Research Priority Area (RPA), state-of-the art complexity science is used as backbone to understand and intervene upon the complexities and dynamics of mental health problems in an urban environment, with special attention to common mental health problems and common mental health disorders. Research is aimed at understanding why and when some groups or individuals thrive in an urban setting, whereas other individuals are vulnerable and develop mental problems.
This approach integrates previously unconnected theories and sources to identify new leverage points for interventions and policy making at different levels of description, which can be tested in collaboration with societal partners and have direct relevance for mental health in general for Amsterdam in particular.
Urban Mental Health (UMH) is one of the research areas of the University of Amsterdam. This project is embedded within three faculties of the University of Amsterdam The unifying factor of Urban Mental Health is the emerging knowledge and skills available from three faculties of the University of Amsterdam namely: the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Science together with the Institute for Advanced Studies. This will bring unique multidisciplinary research teams, joining forces and multiple stakeholders from the Amsterdam region.
The connections to a large societal stakeholders group will be invited in Amsterdam, and at national, international levels. This involves stakeholders, such as Gemeente Amsterdam, GGD, mental health care organisations, primary care centers, schools, patient organisations, family organisations, companies, as well postdoctoral training organisations for professionals in mental health, national stakeholders and policy makers will be included for specific urban challenges. The research priority area Urban Mental Health offers a unique selling point to develop an international network of urban mental health institutes.