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Central Institute of Mental Health (CIMH) is coordinating two projects funded with over six million euros in the national research network for mental disorders:

As Federal Minister Johanna Wanka announced at the Berlin Charité on 17 February 2014, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will sponsor a ‘research network on mental illness’ for a period of four years. In a ‘highly competitive process’, according to the BMBF, nine projects were selected from 46 proposals. Two of these networks - ESPRIT and ESCA - will be coordinated by CIMH and will receive over six million euros. The ‘research network on mental illness’ set out for tender in 2012 involves the development of diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive concepts on the basis of current knowledge about pathogenesis and its mechanism. New or thus far not sufficiently validated approaches will be examined for their effectiveness and their testing in practice will yield treatment relevance. In total, in the period from 2014 to 2018, the research network will be funded with up to 35 million euros by the BMBF. Of the nationwide nine, the CIMH is handling two of these association projects. The research network ESPRIT (Enhancing Schizophrenia Prevention and Recovery through Innovative Treatments) will be involved, under the direction of Professor Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg (Medical Director of the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at CIMH), with the improvement of prevention and recovery in schizophrenia. A total of eight university partners (RWTH Aachen, Charité Berlin, Bonn, Dusseldorf, Cologne, CIMH/Heidelberg, LMU Munich, Tübingen) comprise the association.

ESPRIT has three goals in terms of content: First, new prevention and treatment approaches in schizophrenia are to be studied. In a group of people with increased risk of disease, the effectiveness of medical prevention with a psychotherapeutic process will be compared.

The second goal involves the improvement of the recovery process subsequent to treatment, if possible in an early stage of the disease. Thirdly, successful treatment approaches are to be assessed for their prospective use in everyday medical care. 3.4 million euros were made available.

The second research network ESCAlife (Evidence-based, stepped care of ADHD along the life-span) deals with the evidence-based, incremental treatment attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) across the lifespan.

Coordinator is Professor Tobias Banaschewski (Medical Director of the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of Children and Adolescents at the ZI). The network consists of nine university partners (Bochum, Cologne, Freiburg, Mannheim, Marburg, Rostock, Saarland, Tübingen and Würzburg).

ADHD is one of the most common mental disorders in childhood and adolescence, which usually continues into adulthood. Despite existing treatment research, there is still the need for individualized treatment strategies.

The programme of ESCA involves five aspects. First, the development of an approach for the treatment of ADHD across the entire lifespan, which will take into account the chronicity of ADHD. Second, the development of a treatment algorithm to range from early prevention and intervention to comprehensive multimodal interventions and include the wide clinical spectrum of ADHD and comorbidities. Third, the development of a tiered prevention and treatment approach (‘stepped care’), promises to increase the therapeutic effect. Fourth, the network aims for the use of therapeutic resources, depending on the extent and course of individual impairment. For example, the association will test a telephone-assisted self-help for preschool children by parents and educators. Finally, in a translational approach the biological and psychosocial predictors for the prediction of treatment outcome will be included.  3.1 million euros were made available.

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