On behalf of co-chairs of the European Parliament Interest Group on Mental Health, Well-being and Brain Disorders, the Global Alliance of Mental Illness Advocacy Networks (GAMIAN-Europe) organized in co-operation with the European Brain Council the Interest Group’s meeting addressing the unmet need for improved treatment of brain diseases. The meeting was held on 2 June.

Background to the meeting was the fact that CNS diseases, and in particular, mental health disorders, are the unrecognized health challenge of the 21st century. At least 25% of the global population will be confronted with a mental health disorder, with up to 700 million people living with a mental health disorder in 2010]. The estimated global economic cost of mental health disorders for 2010 was approximately $2.5 trillion, with a projected cost for 2030 of $6 trillion.

A recent White Paper published by the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CINP) and entitled ‘Innovative partnerships to accelerate CNS drug discovery for improved patient care’ will be the central point of focus of the meeting. This Paper makes recommendations to governments in the EU, North America, Japan and other countries to address the huge unmet need for improved treatment of brain diseases and sets out a 10 point action plan to enable companies and researchers to exploit advances in science to develop innovative medicines, which both improve the quality of life for those affected by brain disease and reduce the burden to healthcare systems. The objectives of the meeting were threefold:

  • To be informed of the need for improved treatment for brain diseases and mental health disorders;
  • To hear the views of EU-level policy makers and relevant mental health stakeholders on this topic as well as their recommendations for action;
  • To have an open discussion on how this topic can be further advanced at EU level.