Maintenance, improvement, and restoration of human health including mental well-being are of fundamental importance and a worldwide priority. Mental disorders in particular depression and anxiety are the leading cause of disability worldwide and the third leading cause of overall disease burden (in Disability-adjusted life years, DALYs). According to the OECD, one in every two people experience mental illness in their lifetime. These figures might steadily increase in the following years as a consequence of recent global and regional crises. These facts highlight the importance of improving our understanding of the pathophysiological and adaptative mechanisms with the potential to develop therapeutic and preventive approaches to preserve and improve mental health in Europe and worldwide.
Mental health may be affected by environmental, lifestyle, social, economic adverse factors which increase the risk of developing long-lasting mental health conditions. Nevertheless, environmental stress produces different reactions among individuals who experience it. In response to the same environmental stressor some individuals will activate dynamic and self-organized mechanisms enabling beneficial emotional and behavioral adaptations leading to the development of ‘resilience’. In contrast, some others will be more ‘vulnerable’ and prone to developing mental health conditions.
The 'Network of European Funding for Neuroscience Research' (NEURON) has been established under the ERA-NET scheme of the European Commission (www.neuron-eranet.eu). The ERA-NET NEURON aims to coordinate and optimize research efforts and funding programmes of its partner countries/regions in the field of mental, neurological, and sensory disorders. Under the umbrella of NEURON, a joint transnational call (JTC 2023) in the field of resilience and vulnerability for mental diseases will be launched in 2023.