About Our Centre's Research

The Centre for Urban Mental Health aims to unravel new pathways to improve urban mental health that take into account the complexities and dynamics of mental health problems and mental health disorders in an urban environment.

Urban environments

There is much to gain from urban mental health research. Urban living is on the rise: more than 50 percent of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to rise to 66 percent by 2050. Urban environments are characterised by features that make city life not only economically attractive and exciting, but also more challenging and stressful than rural environments (‘urban stress’). This environment influences mental health. Therefore, the Centre for Urban Mental Health benefits society by using joint approaches to new interventions and policy-making focused on the promotion of mental health.

Understanding mental health problems

In the Centre for Urban Mental Health, state-of-the art complexity science is used as a backbone to understand and intervene upon the complexities and dynamics of mental health problems in an urban environment. Special attention is paid to common mental health problems and disorders. Research is aimed at understanding why and when some groups or individuals thrive in an urban setting, whereas other individuals are more vulnerable and develop mental problems.

The Centre's approach integrates previously unconnected theories and sources to leverage new points for interventions and policy making at different levels. These will be tested in collaboration with societal partners and will have direct relevance for mental health in general, and for Amsterdam in particular.

Core groups

Urban Mental Health (UMH) is one of the Research Priority Areas of the University of Amsterdam. The Centre for UMH is embedded within three faculties of the University of Amsterdam and is unified by the emerging knowledge and skills available from the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, the Faculty of Medicine, and the Faculty of Science, together with the Institute for Advanced Study. This collaboration brings together unique multidisciplinary research teams and stakeholders from the Amsterdam region.

Summary: Urban Mental Health 

Download a summary of the Centre for Urban Mental Health here.