On Wednesday, September 6, The Centre for Urban Mental Health hosted a symposium to celebrate the green light for continuation in 2024 - 2028 and to discuss the plans for the second period with researchers involved. It was a special occasion sharing what we have done and a chance to jointly look to the future. Here are a couple of highlights from the day!

Keynote Speakers 

Prof. dr. Morten Kringelbach

We were so excited to have Prof. dr. Morten Kringelbach (University of Oxford, Aarhus University) join us for our Green Light Symposium and Party. His interdisciplinary work has focused on understanding and promoting human thriving and was beautifully summarized in his contribution: ''Searching for the constellation of brain regions needed for meaning making and thriving''. The central hypothesis is being pursued that human flourishing is orchestrated by a necessary and sufficient but unstable constellation of brain regions and networks at the top of the brain hierarchy. 

Morten shared insights and ideas surrounding these five key areas - it was a beautiful display of research  with inspiring moments and fun interactive pieces. 

Prof. dr. Claudi Bockting & Prof. dr. Reinout Weirs 

The Centre of Urban Mental Health is home to many individuals  and research teams contributing to the work we do on a daily basis. Claudi and Reinout, directors of the Centre, gave a presentation briefly summarizing the work over the past 5 years and introducting the plans for the next 5 years.

They gave an overview of the many ongoing UMH projects and gave insight to the research happening. Urban living is on the rise. Urban environments, like Amsterdam, are characterized by features that make city life not only attractive and exciting, but also more challenging and stressful than rural environments, which negatively impacts mental health. 

This symposium presentation allowed them to share and express the eagerness to one the one hand continue and expand current and new research projects, often in close collaboration with societal partners, and on the other hand direct more focused attention to the development of targeted interventions for mental health issues.

Here, our focus will remain on, in an urban context, the three most common mental disorders: addiction, anxiety, and depression. 

Highlighting some of our UMH projects..

Karoline Huth

Project title: 

Developing a network theory of addiction and depression in an urban population

Junus van der Wal 

Project title: 

Understanding the dynamics of depression in high-risk urban populations using a complex systems approach

Adam  Finnemann

Project title: 

Urban environment economically attractive, but bad for mental health

Lotte Brinkhof

Project title: 

Promoting preventive interventions based 

on resilience network for aging individuals

Maarten van den Ende

Project title:  

Computational modelling of psychological and social dynamics in urban mental health conditions: the case of addictive substance use

Anneke Vuuregge

Project Title: 

Working out Urban Stress

Hanan Bozhar

Project Title: 

Understanding affective and addictive disorders in adolescents in an urban background using a life-course complex systems approach.

Alessandra Mansueto

Project Title: 

Network Analysis and Urban Mental Health Interventions 

Vera Korenblik

Project Title: 

Understanding and targeting the gut microbiota in depression

dr. Rixt van der Veen

Project Title:  

Study of the long term effects of early life stressors on social behavior, stress coping and brain plasticity.

dr. Josefien Breedvelt, Marlies Brouwer, Prof. dr, Rens van de Schoot

Project Title:

Mega Meta Analysis

dr. Barbara Schouten


MHealth4All - Improve access to mental health care services for migrants and refugees

Looking Forward - Future of UMH - Breakout sessions

One of our favorite moments from the symposium was a chance to discuss the future ideas and plans. We broke into three groups and used the time for exchanges of ideas, collaborations, challenges and discussion on each of these topics. Below is shown a glimpse of the topics that were taken up in each group. 

Special Thanks to our UMH board!

We would like to take a quick moment to also thank our board for their support and guidance during the continuation process. We apperciate the insight, persistance and attendance in all the steps we've taken along the way but also for what is to come!

Prof. dr. Claudi Bockting 

Prof. dr. Reinout Wiers

Prof. Julia van Weert

Prof. Alfons Hoekstra 

Prof. dr. Paul Lucassen

Prof. dr. Karien Stronks

The inspiring meeting ended with a festive dinner to continue discussions and celebrate the future of UMH. Thank you to all who joined and participated in our symposium. 

For more information or questions, feel free to contact our Coordinator, Ludo Westerveld (l.w.westerveld@amsterdamumc.nl)  or our Assistant, Lisa Esquibel (assistent.umh@amsterdamumc.nl