The European Social Network (ESN) is one of the stakeholders participating in the Stakeholder Advisory Board of ROAMER, a three-year project funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme to create a coordinated roadmap for the promotion and integration of mental health and wellbeing research across Europe.

The process will last 3 years and it aims to broadly identify the state of the art in mental health, the gaps and priorities, produce the roadmap and disseminate the results. The project includes 5 work packages: infrastructure and funding, bio-medical, social and economic, public health and wellbeing. The current stage of the project is looking at a systematic mapping of literature: who publishes, what, in what areas, where?

The first meeting of the Stakeholder Advisory Board took place in Barcelona on 17 December 2012 where participants discussed a survey at national level with EU researchers and users to identify the priorities of the project. Quality of mental health services was identified as a top priority by psychiatrists, mental health professionals, users and carers. It was highlighted that the level of research development in this area is currently limited.

At the meeting, ESN Policy Officer Alfonso Lara Montero suggested the need to ensure that the Roadmap also emphasises research on mental health of vulnerable groups, such as young people with mental health problems in the juvenile system. In this sense, questions of interest are: what are the measures and services to support them; what is the level of awareness within the police and coordinated actions with other sectors? ESN also suggested looking at reasons behind the increase in long-term sickness benefits due to mental health problems amongst young people from a cost-effectiveness approach. Finally, a cross-cutting issue is ensuring that the Roadmap looks at different types of research, including research by practitioners and user, and its application in practice. Health and social care occur in various circumstances and with various users groups, thus outcomes are relative and should be able to address what works, for whom and in what circumstances.

Throughout 2013 and 2014 ESN will be participating in the Stakeholder Advisory Board of the ROAMER project and in the Joint Action launched by the European Commission and Member States.