Disorders of the brain, i.e. mental and neurological conditions, impose a tremendous socioeconomic burden on European society and are among the leading causes of disability and death. In 2010, it was estimated that approximately 179 million Europeans were living with brain disease (Gustavsson et al, 2010). Recent figures provided by the OECD estimated that in 2015 ill mental health alone cost the EU more than 600 billion euros (OECD, 2018). Data released by the JAMA Psychiatry in 2015 indicated that 14,3% of deaths worldwide were attributable to mental disorders (Walker et al, 2015). What is more, the Lancet recently estimated that neurological conditions were the cause of 16,8% of global deaths in 2015 (GBD 2015 Neurological Disorders Collaborator Group, 2017).
In light of the above, robust measures must be jointly taken by EU governments, patient groups, caregivers and scientific communities across Europe to address the problem caused by brain disorders.
Stakeholders need to address the societal problems associated with brain conditions. The need to enhance cross-border cooperation between national policymakers to define key priorities, which will ultimately benefit people living with mental or neurological conditions is more imperative than ever.
The academic and the general public, as well as relevant state institutions, need more information on good practices related to basic and clinical research in the field of neuroscience to ensure better prevention, diagnosis and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders.
The “Share4Brain” project
It aims to bring together patients, brain researchers, scientists, clinicians and carers at the national and EU levels and provide them with the skills and knowledge necessary to promote brain research and raise awareness about the societal impact of brain diseases.
Representatives of the above groups will meet on multiple occasions during the life-cycle of the project to share good practices, exchange perspectives on effective advocacy strategies and learn how to engage with decision-makers at national and EU levels.
Furthermore, the project aims to bring them together within National Brain Councils (NBCs), thereby uniting all stakeholders involved in brain research within transversal platforms that operate at country level. This will enable them to speak with a single voice when addressing societal problems associated with brain conditions.
The “Share4Brain” will aim to enhance cross-border cooperation between NBCs to define key priorities for National Brain Plans, which will ultimately benefit people living with mental or neurological conditions.
Our goal is to draw the attention of the academic and the general public, as well as relevant state institutions, to the importance of the development of basic and clinical research in the field of neurosciences, as well as to ensure, by integrating all levels of research, better prevention, better diagnosis and better treatment of patients suffering from neurological and psychiatric disorders.
During the second year, we will prepare the “Share4Brain good practice compilation for Brain Education in Europe”.
The European Brain Council (EBC) will share results of European level research for the Brain.
Several Focus Groups organized by representatives of the partners aimed at familiarizing the participants with their work will be facilitated during each transnational meeting. Furthermore, a Webinar on relevant EU policies impacting brain research as well as on how to engage with the European Institutions will be organized as part of the project.
Lastly, various meetings, focus groups and webinars will be held to enable the participants to share their perspectives on priorities that should be included in National Brain Plans. Also, all stakeholders will be invited to share good practices and examples of brain advocacy strategies in which they themselves have been involved. During these events, the participants will be introduced to various cases constituting effective brain health advocacy strategies.
Patients will be invited to participate in a Patient Advisory Board (PAB). We will encourage the involvement of people living with brain disorders.