The universities of Tilburg and Eindhoven and GGzE (Mental Health Care Eindhoven and Kempen) will jointly conduct research in a so-called Academic Workplace. The three organizations focus on three fields: the transition of mental healthcare, healing environment, and personalized mental health. Last week, Jan Mengelers, President of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Rector Emile Aarts, Tilburg University (TiU), and Marie-Louise Vossen of the Board of Mental Health Care Eindhoven and de Kempen (GGzE) signed a joint agreement for the Academic Workshop ‘Technological and Social Innovation for Mental Health’. Within this academic workshop, the three parties will continue and extend their cooperation in the field of mental health research and innovation.

Mental healthcare is confronted with numerous challenges such as high work pressure, relatively high absenteeism and a significant shortage of skilled staff. In addition, the costs of healthcare are rising, the budgets in the sector shrinking and there is an increasing trend among patients to become more involved in their own care. GGzE and both Brabant universities see a solution in social innovation and the introduction of more technology. Vossen: “To ensure ongoing improvement, care cannot exist without research and innovation. Cooperation between TU/e, TiU and GGzE is a beautiful new initiative in this respect that can extend the horizon of research, innovation, and practice.”

According to Jan Mengelers, this Academic Workplace confirms the growing role of technology in the medical sector. “TU/e has Health as one of its strategic spearheads, and we are convinced that our academic research and knowledge will make a major contribution to mental healthcare.” Emile Aarts is also happy about this joining of forces: “Our university warmly welcomes such a partnership between knowledge institutions and social partners and is pleased to be able to make a social contribution to an important issue such as care and its organization, in which we have a lot of expertise.”

The focus will be on Ehealth and Mhealth (developing online care) and serious games (learning and developing in a playful interactive way) for current and future clients and citizens in general. It also investigates how the environment of mental healthcare can be improved: more people-oriented and healing so that the experience of the care becomes more positive and the recovery of the client is supported. This involves, among other things, the buildings and the design of the De Grote Beek estate. Thirdly, it examines how clients themselves can gain a more active role and become orchestrators of their treatment. New technologies will be developed and used such as electronic self-assessment, learning and coaching.

Photo (c) Bart van Overbeeke