Press Release: Leading mental health specialists launch an Expert Policy Paper to address major challenges around transition from child to adult mental health services across Europe

Expert Policy Paper highlights gaps in care for Europeans transitioning from child to adult mental health care services, and calls on policymakers to support improvements to healthcare systems.

21 November 2017, Brussels, Belgium: Today, GAMIAN-Europe and the European Brain Council launched an Expert Policy Paper entitled ‘Bridging the Gap: Optimising transition from child to adult mental healthcare’ at a meeting in the European Parliament.

The Expert Policy Paper suggests simple measures that aim to ensure young adults, who may require continued care, receive the support they need. Such measures include: ensuring awareness amongst healthcare professionals, improving education of healthcare professionals, improving the management and planning of the transition process, and promoting long-term continuity of care after the transition has been made to adult services.1  The Expert Policy Paper was authored by an independent group of experts, led by the European Brain Council and GAMIAN-Europe, and developed with support from Shire.

Transition of care, which is the process of planning, preparing and moving a patient with a mental health condition from child to adult mental healthcare services, is vitally important in determining patient outcomes.2,3

“Transitioning to adult services can feel overwhelming to young people living with a mental health condition, especially as the timing often coincides with shifts in personal circumstances,” commented Dolores Gauci from GAMIAN-Europe. “In Europe, transition of care in mental health services is deeply inadequate, and vulnerable young adults often fall through the care gap.”

When setting out key recommendations for improving transition to adult mental healthcare services the Expert Policy Paper takes attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a working example, illustrating what needs to be done. Research has shown that poor transition of care for people with ADHD can result in disengagement from services and discontinuation of treatment.4-6 Often, young people and adults with ADHD can find it difficult to progress in education and employment.

“By establishing a cohesive infrastructure to support transition for people living with mental health conditions, we can effect real, measurable change for future generations, for example, by enabling people to more effectively engage in long-term employment, and by reducing overall long-term healthcare costs,” said EBC President David Nutt. “We call on stakeholders across Europe to support and implement the recommendations set out in this paper and to help establish a best practice transition pathway across all European member states.”

For further information on the issue of transition from child to adult mental health services, and to access the paper, please click here


About ‘Bridging the Gap: Optimising transition from child to adult mental healthcare’

This Expert Policy Paper aims to inform European and national level stakeholders and policymakers on the importance and need for effective transition of care. Using ADHD as a case study, the Expert Policy Paper identifies barriers to successful transition and offers practical policy recommendations to support improvements in care during this crucial time period. Recommendations put forward in the Expert Policy Paper have been agreed upon by a group of key experts with an interest in improving mental health outcomes for patients across Europe. The Expert Policy Paper has been authored by (in alphabetical order):

Philip Asherson (King’s College London, UK); Andrea Bilbow (ADHD Europe); Kate Carr-Fanning (ADHD Europe); Frédéric Destrebecq  (European Brain Council); Geert Dom (European Psychiatric Association); Silvana Galderisi (European Psychiatric Association); Dolores Gauci (GAMIAN-Europe); Marc Hermans (UEMS Section of Psychiatry); Tony Lloyd (ADHD Foundation, Liverpool, UK); Ann Little (European Federation of Neurological Associations); Fulgencio Madrid (University of Murcia, Spain); Kuben Naidoo (Mersey Care NHS Trust, Liverpool, UK); J. Antoni Ramos-Quiroga (Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron, Spain); Swaran Singh (University of Warwick, UK); Donna Walsh (European Federation of Neurological Associations); Spyros Zorbas (European Federation of Associations of Families of People with Mental Illness).


The Expert Policy Paper was authored by an independent group of experts, led by the European Brain Council and GAMIAN-Europe, and developed with support from Shire, who commissioned and funded medical writing support from APCO Worldwide and Complete Medical Communications. This Paper is the outcome of a collaboration that was jointly initiated by Shire, GAMIAN-Europe and the EBC.

About ADHD

ADHD is a complex neurobiological disorder that can profoundly affect people throughout their lives. It is often under-recognised and misunderstood, especially among adults, on whom it can have a wide-ranging impact.7 Often, those who have been diagnosed as children or adolescents continue to be affected later in life, and it has been reported that ADHD persists from childhood into adulthood in approximately 50-66% of individuals.8,9 The estimated prevalence of ADHD among adults is approximately 3.4%.10

About GAMIAN-Europe

GAMIAN-Europe was established in 1998 as a representative coalition of patient organisations. Putting the patient at the centre of all issues of the EU healthcare debate, the organisation aims to bring together and support the development and policy influencing capacity of local, regional and national organisations active in the field of mental health.

Patients can and should play an effective and complementary role in developing positive and proactive policies and other initiatives with an impact on mental health issues. GAMIAN-Europe, as an informed and effective advocate, is seeking to become a powerful and trusted point of reference for the main EU institutions and other organisations and stakeholders seeking the views of patients.

About the European Brain Council

The European Brain Council (EBC) is a non-profit organisation gathering patient associations, major brain-related societies as well as industries. Established in March 2002, its mission is to promote brain research in order to improve the quality of life of those living with brain disorders in Europe. EBC’s main action areas are:

  • Fostering cooperation with its members organisations
  • Promoting dialogue between scientists, industry and society
  • Interacting with the European Commission, the European Parliament and other relevant international institutions
  • Raising awareness and promoting education on the brain
  • Disseminating information about brain research and brain diseases in Europe.

Follow us on Twitter:


For further information, please contact:


The European Brain Council: Stephanie Kramer:, +32 (0) 466 46 56 01


The Report can be read here



  1. Final reference for Policy Paper to be confirmed
  2. Department of Health. Transition: Getting it right for young people. Available at: Last updated 2006.
  3. Paul M, Ford T, Kramer T, Islam Z, Harley K, Singh SP. Transfers and transitions between child and adult mental health services. Br J Psychiatry Suppl 2013; 54: s36-s40.
  4. Buitelaar JK. Optimising treatment strategies for ADHD in adolescence to minimise ‘lost in transition’ to adulthood. Epidemiol Psychiatr Sci 2017; 1-5.
  5. Singh SP. Transition of care from child to adult mental health services: the great divide. Curr Opin Psychiatry 2009; 22: 386-390.
  6. Singh SP, Paul M, Ford T, Kramer T, Weaver T, McLaren S, Hovish K, Islam Z, Belling R, White S. Process, outcome and experience of transition from child to adult mental healthcare: multiperspective study. Br J Psychiatry 2010; 197: 305-312.
  7. Asherson P, Clinical Assessment and Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity in Adults, Expert Review Neurotherapeutics 2005, 5(4): 525-539
  8. Faraone SV, Biederman J, Mick E. The age-dependent decline of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a meta-analysis of follow-up studies. Psychol Med 2006; 36: 159-165.
  9. Barkley RA, Fischer M, Smallish L, Fletcher K. The persistence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder into young adulthood as a function of reporting source and definition of disorder. J Abnorm Psychol 2002; 111: 279-289.
  10. Lara C, Fayyad J, De Graaf R, Kessler RC, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Angermeyer M, Demytteneare K, De Girolamo G, Haro JM, Jin R, Karam EG, Lépine JP, Mora ME, Ormel J, Posada-Villa J, Sampson N. Childhood predictors of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: results from the World Health Organization World Mental Health Survey Initiative. Biol Psychiatry 2009; 65: 46-54.