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Urban Mental Health

Finding new pathways to unravel urban mental health: from complexity to action

The goal of this research theme is to unravel the complexities behind mental health in urban environments and develop new intervention strategies.

There is much to gain from urban mental health research. Urban living is on the rise: more than 50 percent of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to rise to 66 percent by 2050. Urban environments are characterised by features that make city life not only economically attractive and exciting, but also more challenging and stressful than rural environments (‘urban stress’), which influences mental health.

Urban Mental Health uses state-of-the art complexity science as a backbone to understand and intervene upon the complexities and dynamics of mental health problems in an urban environment, with special attention to common mental health problems and common mental health disorders. Research is aimed at understanding why and when some groups or individuals thrive in an urban setting, whereas other individuals are vulnerable and develop mental problems.

This approach integrates previously unconnected theories and sources to identify new leverage points for interventions and policy making at different levels of description, which can be tested in collaboration with societal partners and have direct relevance for mental health in general for Amsterdam in particular.


Prof. C.L. (Claudi) Bockting
Prof. dr. R.W.H.J. (Reinout) Wiers

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Programme group Developmental Psychology

Assistant Director / Senior Research Coordinator

J.J. (Josefien) Breedvelt

Board Members

Prof. dr. P.J. (Paul) Lucassen

Faculty of Science

Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences

Prof. dr. P.M.A. (Peter) Sloot

Faculty of Science

Informatics Institute

Prof. K. (Karien) Stronks
Prof. J.C.M. (Julia) van Weert

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

CW : Persuasive Communication


For any inquiries, please contact:
Check out the Urban Mental Health website for more information: