RP2 Public Mental Health – Running Grants and Projects


The Czech Research Council



Concurrence of the Rheumatic and Psychiatric Diseases: Epidemiology, Identification of the Risk-Group Population and Economic Costs (NU21-09-00297)
Investigator: PhDr. Petr Winkler, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: Institute of Rheumatology
Co-investigator/Partner: NIMH
Duration: 1.5.2021–31.12.2024
Total budget: 12 790 000 CZK
Total budget NIMH: 6 331 000 CZK
Abstract: Systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (SARDs) considerably affect the quality of patient’s life. Comorbidity constitutes an important factor in regard to prognosis, level of disability, as well as efficiency of treatment. In recent times, there is a growing interest in investigating the association of SARDs and psychiatric disorders (PDs). The chronic nature of the illness and the inflammation present in individuals with SARDs could be important risk factors for developing a serious PD. Presently, however, the knowledge about the exact relation of the molecules of the pathogenetic pathways in axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to affective and anxiety disorders is missing. Moreover, in Czech Republic, there is a lack of epidemiological evidence on the relationship of SARDs and PDs, as well as a lack of information regarding costs associated with such a co-occurrence. This project will consist of three distinctive, yet complementary modules. The first module will be focused on assessing the prevalence of mental disorders in axSpA and RA patients recruited from a single centre, and the association between selected biomarkers and mental disorders. The second module will be based on comprehensive nationwide health registers and will focus on the risk of psychiatric hospitalization in individuals previously hospitalized for SARDs, and vice versa. Finally, using data from the national database of axSpA and RA patients, we will assess the costs associated with having a comorbid mental disorder. The results of the study will expand the knowledge about the relationship of SARDs and PDs, will provide epidemiological evidence on the co-occurrence of SARDs and PDs, as well as information on economic costs of such a co-occurrence. Moreover, the results will help to identify the individuals with SARDs most at-risk for PDs, and will help to formulate potential interventions.


Healthy Brain Aging: A Life-course Perspective (NU20J-04-00022)
Investigator: MUDr. Pavla Čermáková, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Project partner: Masarykova univerzita
Duration: 1.5.2020–31.12.2023
Total budget: 11 277 000 Kč
Total budget NIMH: 3 885 000 CZK
Abstract: Brain disorders, such as cognitive impairment and depression, are strongest contributors to disability in older adults. We aim to take a life-course perspective and study the role of biological aging on vulnerability to cognitive and affective disorders. In work package 1, we will analyze longitudinal data on cognitive performance and depression from the Czech arm of the study Health, Alcohol and Psychosocial factors In Eastern Europe (HAPIEE; n=8 856 individuals, aged 58 years at baseline in 2002, 53% women). Since recent studies suggest that alterations in the brain, previously believed to occur only in later life, are present already in young adults before they reach their 30th birthday, work package 2 of the current project will invite members of the prenatal birth cohort from European Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood (ELSPAC) who took part in its neuroimaging follow-up in 2015 (n=131; age 23-24; 53% women) to a second neuroimaging follow-up (age 28-29) and assess their DNA epigenetic age, biological age, cardiovascular risk factors, cognition, mood and anxiety.
The overarching aim of the proposed project is to investigate the role of chronological and biological aging on affective and cognitive disorders in several periods of life, to disentangle their common neurobiological substrates, the inequalities in their occurrence and propose interventions in order to decrease the burden of mental disorders in the Czech Republic. To achieve these aims, we will analyze large datasets that include information about early-life environment and follow individuals thoughout different periods of life, thus applying a life-course perspective towards understanding the brain aging process.





The Technology Agency of The Czech Republic

Training Aimed at Increasing Police Prepardness for Mentally and Communication-intensive Situations Using Virtual Reality (TL03000050)
Investigator: Eliška Procházková, MSc., PhD
Principle investigator: NIMH
Project partner: Leiden University (Eliška Procházková, MSc., PhD, 3dsense, s.r.o. (Ing. Jan Hrdlička)
Duration: 1.8.2020–31.8.2023
Total budget: 13 639 695 CZK
Total budget NIMH: 2 585 919 CZK
Abstract: Police officers face many mentally and communicatively demanding situations on a daily basis, including, for example, communication with mentally ill persons, victims of serious crimes or persons demonstrating the intention to commit suicide. These situations evoke strong emotional reactions and require social skills and experience. The aim of the project is to develop training in social skills in a virtual environment, which will aim to strengthen the ability of police officers to effectively manage socially tense situations and thus protect the health of all involved. With the help of experts from various fields, we will create a VR (virtual reality) games for police training, the effectiveness of which will then be verified through an international comparative study.


RSJ Foundation

Psychosocial Education for Children in Elementary Schools (NP-038-2019)
Investigator.: PhDr. Petr Winkler
Principle investigator: NIMH 
Duration: 1.1.2019–31.8.2020
Total budget NIMH: 2 535 228 CZK
Abstract: The aim of this project is to introduce a program of social-emotional learning and mental health literacy to elementary schools in Czechia. The main activities will include a development and piloting of the program, revisions of the program based on the feedback from the piloting phase, and development of a teachers’ training. Consultations will be held with Czech as well as international experts who have experiences with programs of a similar kind, and meetings will be organized with key stakeholders partaking in educational system in order to assure a sustainability of the program in the context of elementary education in Czechia. The project will have two main tangible results, a curriculum of social-emotional learning and mental health literacy and a teachers’ training program.



OP Employment

Destigmatization of People with Mental Disease (CZ.03.2.63/0.0/0.0/15_039/0007276)
Investigator: PhDr. Petr Winkler
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.9.2017–31.8.2022
Total budget NIMH: 94 956 515 CZK
Abstract: The project improves the quality of life of people with mental illness through a range of destigmatization measures. It builds on the best foreign and domestic experience, careful situational analysis, cooperation with the world leading experts, a wide participation of people with mental illness and their loved ones and an expert platform bringing together representatives of psychiatric care in the Czech Republic. The project includes continuous evaluation of the effectiveness of the measures.

Early Intervention for Serious Mental Illness (VIZDOM) (CZ.03.2.63/0.0/0.0/15_039/0009304)
Investigator: PhDr. Petr Winkler
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.4.2018–30.6.2022
Total budget NIMH: 37 319 716 CZK
Abstract: The project presented in the framework of the reform of mental health care will increase the availability and efficiency of health and social services and support the transfer of the centre of psychiatric care to the community. It is aimed at supporting prevention and early intervention in severe mental illnesses (SMI). It focuses on preventing the development of mental illnesses, reducing the number and length of hospitalizations for the first episodes of SMI, and on preventing the loss of employment in people at risk of SMI. The proposed measures will be implemented and evaluated within the framework of the project.





Iceland Liechtenstein Norway grants

Monitoring and improving child and adolescent mental health (ZD-ZDOVA1-025)
Investigator: PhDr. Petr Winkler, Ph.D.
Duration: 15.2.2021–15.1.2024
Principle investigator: NIMH
Total budget: 14 904 900 Kč


Communitary Programmes of European Union

EU Health Programme

Joint Action on Support for Member States' Implemantation of Best Practices in the Area of Mental Health (JA-02-2020) (101035969)
Investigator: Mgr. Alexandr Kasal
Principle investigator: National Public Health Organisation Greece
Co-investigators/Partners: NIMH + 21 other partners
Duration: 1.6.2021–31.5.2024
Total budget: 6 741 516,57 EUR
Total budget NIMH: 194 630,24 EUR
Abstract: Mental disorders are one of the greatest public health challenges in terms of prevalence, burden of disease and disability and they cause major burden to economies, demanding policy action. More than one in six people across EU countries had a mental health issue in 2016, equivalent to about 84 million people. Moreover, in 2016, 165,000 deaths were attributed to mental and behavioural disorders, including self-harm, in EU.The burden of mental illness in the European WHO region is estimated to account for 14.4% of years lived with disability (YLDs) and 5.8% of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), placing thus mental illness as the second biggest contributor to YLDs after musculoskeletal disorders and as fourth in terms of DALYs in the WHO European region. Total costs pertaining to ill mental health have been gauged at more than 4% of GDP - or over 600 billion - across EU in 2015.
Many European countries have in place policies and programmes to address mental illness at different ages. Nevertheless, much more can be done to manage and promote mental health. Delivery of MH care services takes various forms across EU. Some countries still rely on big psychiatric hospitals, while others are delivering the care for MH mostly in community settings. This need for prioritizing mental Health becomes more imperative, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Converging evidence substantiate emerging mental health needs and difficulties faced by the mental health care systems to tackle them.
Building upon 15+ years of EU efforts including the Joint Action for Mental Health and Well-being the European Framework for Action and the EU Compass, the Members of the SGPP have selected two best practices (1) the Mental health reform in Belgium and (2) Suicide prevention form Austria to be implemented during the new Joint Action on mental health, with an aim to extend the benefits of these best practices to participating countries.


Pan-European Response to the ImpactS of COVID-19 and Future Pandemics and Epidemics (PERISCOPE) (H2020 101016233)
Investigator: PhDr. Petr Winkler, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: Universita degli studi di Pavia (UNIPV)
Co-investigators: NIMH + 32 ohers partners in consortium
Duration: 1.1.2021–31.12.2023
Total budget: 9 993 475 EUR
Total budget NIMH: 81 831,25 EUR
Abstract: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been deep and wide. In spite of unprecedented efforts to understand the COVID-19 disease and its causative virus SARS-CoV-2, months after the emergence of the first local case in Europe (San Matteo hospital, Pavia, 21st February 2020) significant knowledge gaps persist. While social and natural scientists managed to develop new research and shed light on the dynamics of the outbreak and the most effective possible containment measures, governments have been increasingly faced with the need to adopt urgent decisions. Against this background, PERISCOPE plans to contribute to a dramatically deeper understanding of the dynamics of the outbreak, by means of an intense multi-disciplinary research, both theoretical and experimental, and the consideration of different viewpoints: clinic and epidemiologic; humanistic and psychologic; socio-economic and political; statistical and technological. The overarching objectives of PERISCOPE are to map and analyse the unintended impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak; develop solutions and guidance for policymakers and health authorities on how to mitigate the impact of the outbreak; enhance Europe’s preparedness for future similar events; and reflect on the future multi-level governance in the health as well as other domains affected by the outbreak. In pursuing this objective, PERISCOPE sheds new light on the unintended and indirect consequences of the outbreak and the related government responses, with the intention to preserve evidence-based policymaking by collecting an unprecedented amount of data and information on the social, economic and behavioural consequences of the current pandemic. At the same time, PERISCOPE will produce new information on the conditions that led to the impact of the pandemic, the differences in “policy mix” adopted at the national level in EU and associated countries, and the behavioural impacts of both the outbreak and the policies adopted.



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