The ROAMER project is funded by the European Commission Framework Programme 7 (FP7) and aimed to develop an effective and widely accepted Roadmap on the promotion and integration of mental health and wellbeing research in Europe for the next 10-15 years. ROAMER started on October 1st 2011 and will be developed during three years. It will reflect a multi-disciplinary perspective, based on a consensus between the key stakeholders (from researchers to end users, family members, professionals, carers and policy-makers), using a methodologically sound, pragmatic, and comprehensive approach.
On a regional scale, Europe has one of the highest levels of resourcing for mental health in the world, with a good supply of trained professionals, and policies and systems coordinated to support their interventions (WHO, 2005). Despite the Europe strong relative position, the already high burden and impact of mental disorders throughout Europe (WHO, 2001) will continue to rise, since there remains a substantial gap between European mental health needs and the services to meet them. WHO-EURO reported that the ‘historically low level of funding’ for mental health in Europe is inefficient given the substantial benefit that this research could provide (WHO EURO, 2005).
Piecemeal, reactive and ad hoc research funding initiatives are not the solution; what is needed is a coordinated strategy based on a clear perception of the breadth and diversity of mental health research. In short, the gap between needs and services can only be properly identified, its causes determined and addressed in light of the results of comprehensive and integrated mental health research, well-funded, orientated to potential shifts in future needs in light of the ageing population and specifically addressing a pragmatic and integrated approach to a pan-European strategy, of course by recognising and taking advantage of the results of previous initiatives such as the European Pact for Mental Health and Well-being (2008).
An integrated research strategy makes it feasible to identify and take advantage of successful methodologies and positive results in diagnosis, targeted treatment approaches and prevention and promotion programs across conditions, geographic areas and life span. An integrated strategy can also take into account the interests and needs of the stakeholders (i.e., researchers, service professionals, end-users, policy-makers and politicians) as well, implicitly, the needs of society at large for cost-effective and efficient mental health policy. Finally, such a strategy would highlight the essential framework conditions of mental health research in Europe, taking into account research capacities, infrastructures and fundamental strategies across European countries, as well as the potential for research capacity building.
The ROAMER project seeks to meet this essential need for a coordinated and comprehensive approach to the promotion and integration of research in mental health and well-being in Europe. This goal will be achieved by means of an effective and widely accepted Roadmap for the next 10-15 years, with distinct components directed to mental disorders, mental health and well-being. Indeed, the Roadmap will be built upon existing state-of-the-art mental health research and aimed to priority setting across Europe and the rest of the world, focusing on high quality scientific research, covering the areas of intervention for priority action detailed in the European Pact for Mental Health and Well-being (2008), namely "Prevention of Depression and Suicide, Mental Health in Youth and Education, Mental Health in Workplace Settings, Mental Health of Older People, and Combating Stigma and Social Exclusion", and taking into account the priorities set out in the European Parliament Resolution, namely ”prevention, early detection, intervention and treatment of mental disorders”.
Therefore, the main objectives of the project are:
The Roadmap derived of the ROAMER initiative should include specifically the following issues:
The ROAMER project is expected to have an impact on:
Research findings will ultimately be translated into improvements and innovations in mental health care delivery and in strategies to increase the mental health and wellbeing of the population.
The ROAMER project is structured in eleven independent but inter-related work-packages (see figure 1).
The core of the project is formed by six scientific work-packages (WP) that are comprised by groups of scientific experts selected upon objective criteria which will analyse the key areas of Mental Health Research:
Each area of knowledge will be addressed in parallel by following a common methodology that comprises several general steps:
Therefore, the ROAMER approach will be divided into several phases (see figure 2):
The ROAMER consortium is composed of 14 partners across 8 different EU-countries (figure 3).