Mental Illness exerts a heavy burden on affected individuals and societies as a whole, costing over 500 billion euros in Europe annually. Answering the challenge of finding new and better therapies, scientists from med psychiatry, neuroscience, as well as psychology and social science can build today on the enormous progress achieved in understanding how the brain functions and how it develops over time.
Mechanisms of vulnerability for mental illnesses over lifetime will be the focus of the Volkswagen Foundation’s second Herrenhausen Conference. Concentrating on particularly sensitive and susceptible phases of mental development (Sessions 1: Early Brain Development; Session 2: Adolescence; Session 3: Adulthood), renowned experts will share their latest research and insights into risk for and resilience against mental illnesses.
Building on this material, in a concluding Session on “Promoting Mental Health” new approaches for improving mental health and treating mental disorders will be highlighted.
What insights can be gained for prevention and social policy by taking into account the risk factors for developing mental illnesses throughout life? What are the barriers that need to be overcome in order to further expand the knowledge in the field and enlarge the spectrum of effective therapies for treating mental diseases?
Psychiatry is at a turning point and the long needed cooperation between natural and social sciences will help to create new impulses for solving the problems described and securing a high level of mental health. We are looking for pathways towards the scientific breakthroughs of tomorrow and want to give you the opportunity to discuss ideas which might still seem unachievable today but have transformative potential for tomorrow. We would be delighted if you would join us in this endeavour.
We do look forward to welcoming you in Hanover.