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Mood Disorders are a common, chronic, severe, complex and costly group of predominantly recurrent psychiatric illness that can be devastating for the affected individual and their families and impose a high health care related burden. Major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder are the main diagnostic categories in mood disorders. There is a significant clinical need for more effective detection and better delivered treatments for these illnesses. Major depressive disorder accounts for the predominant burden associated with both unipolar and bipolar disorder. However, both the identification and management of bipolar depression are more challenging, since bipolar depression differs little symptomatically from unipolar depression and responds poorly to traditional antidepressants, which may also induce a switch to mania and/or cause rapid cycling. The physical health of people with all mood disorders is compromised and their life expectancy markedly reduced. The aim of a care pathway is to enhance quality of care by improving patient outcomes, promoting patient safety, increasing patient satisfaction, and optimizing the use of resources.

With this in mind, the European Brain Council (EBC) initiated in 2019 a study called the Value of Treatment (VoT) to address diagnostic and treatment gaps for brain (including mental and neurological) disorders. The EBC deemed it necessary to add case studies on mental health conditions such as major depressive disorder. Disease treatment pathways should run from detection in the community through primary and secondary care to specialist clinics. Early intervention and continuity of care are very necessary to effectively manage patients’ mood disorders and overall health.