Improving mental health through precision and prevention


On March 10, 2021, Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek announced at a specially scheduled press conference that the interdisciplinary Munich research network PriMe (Precision in Mental Health) - consisting of researchers from Helmholtz Zentrum München (including Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wurst and PD Dr. Sabine Hölter-Koch), the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at LMU Klinikum (coordinator Prof. Dr. med. Peter Falkai), the Klinikum rechts der Isar of Technische Universität München (co-coordinator Prof. Dr. Josef Priller), the University of Augsburg and the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry - will become part of the new German Center for Mental Health (DZPG).

Mental illnesses are among the widespread diseases of the 21st century with a rapidly growing burden of disease. They cause great personal suffering as well as high costs for the economy and society. Decades of research have led to an improved understanding of the complex interactions between environment, genes and brain that underlie mental illness. However, this knowledge has not yet been translated into improved diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic procedures. This is where the new German Center for Mental Health will come in. By selecting centers with complementary strengths, the entire spectrum of mental illnesses as well as currently available research tools can be covered. The goal is the rapid development of new treatment options that fundamentally change the course of mental illness.

The focus of PriMe in Munich is primarily on the development of more precise methods for diagnosis and prognosis in conjunction with a resulting more precise selection and further development of therapeutic procedures through multi-center clinical studies. In addition, the interweaving of basic science model systems with artificial intelligence methods will contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms of disease development, maintenance and resilience.

According to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Center for Mental Health will start in January 2022.