Many Dutch young people (aged 12-25) experience depressive feelings or anxiety. This has severe and long-term negative effects, such as school dropout, poorer physical health and greater inequality of opportunity. A research team led by Prof. Dr. Loes Keijsers, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Prof. Dr. Manon Hilligers, Erasmus MC and Dr. Ir. Willem Paul Brinkman, TU Delft has been awarded four million euros from the Convergence Health & Technology Flagship program to research the use of new technology and system change to prevent mental health problems in young people.
Mental health problems are common among Dutch youth ages 12-25. At least 13-25% of them experience depressive feelings or anxiety. This has severe and long-term negative effects, such as school dropout, poorer physical health and greater inequality of opportunity. It leads to high social costs every year. Treatment often comes too late, and waiting lists are long. In addition, the current system pays little attention to prevention. Therefore, a systematic change in our health care system is badly needed. But how? Because adequate knowledge is lacking, and there are limited monitoring tools and accessible interventions such as eHealth apps.
Loes Keijsers, Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences: "In this interdisciplinary and interuniversity research program, we will work with advanced real-time measurements and data analysis, including using artificial intelligence. We will look for the early features of mental health problems. We're going to work on how to create new ways to detect these emotional problems earlier and better and refer young people more quickly. That includes improving decision-making about who needs, what intervention to prevent mental health problems and when. We're going to find out how the use of new technology-driven interventions, for example, eHealth can contribute to this. "
"We don't do this from the ivory tower, but at every step in the research phase, we involve young people and professionals, educators, professionals, and policymakers. This is part of the sustainable infrastructure and collaboration between scientists and society that we also want to achieve with this project. In the end, we aim for shorter waiting lists and lower social costs of mental health problems. It's all about the optimal well-being of all young people. That's what we do it for."
Convergence flagship program Health & Technology
The Convergence collaboration between Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus MC and TU Delft is continuing to take shape. One of the themes is Health & Technology (H&T). The H&T Flagship Program stimulates cooperation between the universities, disciplines and societal partners, with the starting point being solving major societal problems. In this project, "Proactive Technology-supported prevention and Mental health in adolescents", researchers from medical sciences, social, behavioural and humanities and technology work together to promote this significant transition in mental health care. The Erasmus University Campus Woudestein team consists of: Dr. Joyce Weeland, Dr. Annabel Vreeker, Prof. Marcus Specht (ESSB), Prof. Pilar Garcia-Gomez (ESE).