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RG Ecological Translation in Public Mental Health Provision (E.T.)


Head of Department

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Reininghaus

Phone: +49 621 1703-1930


Secretariat: Ulrike Köster
Phone: 0621 1703-1931, e-mail


The research group ‘Ecological Translation in Public Mental Health Provision’ (E.T.) primarily focuses on the contemporary challenge of harnessing more fully the translational chain from bench to bedside or, much rather, to daily life and real-world settings, given that transferability, uptake, scalability, sustainability and, hence, public health impact of evidence-based innovations in mental health research remains, if anything, limited. The group seeks to address this challenge using innovative translational, participatory, evaluation and implementation science frameworks as well as cutting-edge digital technology for real-world delivery of evidence-based, personalized mental health promotion, mental illness prevention and mental health care in routine clinical, diverse societal and global settings.

Our work fully embraces what the public mental health field has set out to achieve, as it pursues the ultimate goal of a shift in the population mean of mental health associated with a clinically meaningful reduction of mental health problems in the population through ecological delivery of scalable and sustainable interventions and services. Therefore, ecological translation (E.T.) is at the very heart of our group as we seek to a) identify momentary risk and protective mechanisms, socio-environmental contexts and settings across the continuum of mental health and, b) in a next step, translate this into novel digital interventions and services –ecological momentary interventions (EMI) in particular – that target these mechanisms, contexts and settings in real time and in the real world, outside the research lab or clinic.

In doing so, we use a personalized and adaptive approach to delivering digital interventions and services that are tailored to what individuals need in a given moment and context through interactive sampling in real-time and the real world based on multimodal ecological momentary assessment (EMA) and mobile sensing data acquired through cutting-edge digital technology for personalized public mental health provision. In our work, we focus on transdiagnostic dimensions across the entire continuum of mental health by moving from single- to cross-disorder phenotypes using state-of-the-art latent variable modelling to disentangle and understand the dimensional structure of mental health more fully (including as part of the international HiTOP consortium).

Ecological translation also implies for us to adopt a global mental health perspective by translating, adapting, and evaluating novel interventions and services to socio-cultural contexts of our global partners (in close collaboration with the Somdet Chaopraya Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Mental Health, Thailand; School of Medicine and Health Sciences Monash University, Malaysia (SEACO); Heidelberg Institute of Global Health (HIGH)). Further, our work is inherently interdisciplinary, as it considers and investigates various levels of explanation, causation and service delivery across several scientific disciplines (i.e., public health, digital mental health, social and eco-epidemiology, implementation science, clinical psychology, social psychiatry, and mental health services research) and seeks to move beyond mere interdisciplinarity by involving, in a transdisciplinary and participatory approach, users and relevant stakeholders from the outset.

Last, our group galvanizes all these aspects into a research programme that pursues the overarching goal of achieving transferability (from research to routine care, complex populations, real-world settings, and global contexts), uptake (by mental health and allied professionals), scalability (to a large number of users), sustainability (through reducing mental health burden for future generations) and, thereby, a real public health impact of evidence-based innovations in public mental health provision.

Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit (ZI) - https://www.zi-mannheim.de