Programme Highlights


Learn more about some of the sessions from the programme by reading our highlights below. 

Effective Prevention and Assessment of Risk of Suicidal Behaviour in Different Populations with Special Focus on Young People

Following the EPA “guidance on suicide treatment and prevention” published in European Psychiatry, the section of suicidology and suicide prevention proposes a symposium to further understand why suicide is the leading cause of premature mortality among young people in Europe. Professor Balazs will present results from Hungary, a country with exceptionally high suicide rates, defining risk and protective factors. Professor Wasserman will describe three school-based awareness programs which successfully reduced suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in adolescents. Professor Szulc will present a very simple to use, new diagnostic tool for the assessment of patient’s perception of suicide and identification of risk factors. Dr. Fudalej will focus on genetic and environmental predictors of self-destructive behaviour related to psychoactive substance use.

Diagnosis and Management of Treatment-Resistant Psychiatric Disorders

A significant proportion of psychiatric patients do not respond to or do not tolerate their treatment. The definition of treatment resistance varies, which may affect the proposed actions: they may include further diagnostic procedures (e.g. revision of the diagnosis; checking for psychiatric and somatic comorbidities, which may interfere with the efficacy and safety of the selected treatments) and/or the selection of treatment/s.   This symposium will help the participants  1. to better understand how neuroscience based classification may improve the selection of an effective treatment/reduce treatment resistance (Prof. H-J. Möller) 2.  in the decision making of how to manage treatment resistant schizophrenia (Prof. P. Mohr) 3. to understand the association of comorbid ADHD or substance use with treatment resistance (Prof. JA. Ramos- Quiroga) 4. to learn about the progress in the management of treatment resistant depression (Prof. S. Kasper).

E-Mental Health Approaches to Prevention and Early Intervention in Affective Disorders

The increased demand for treatment is not matched by increased resources within the medical field, thus self-management of mood disorders is becoming increasingly important. A symposium will focus on E-Health applications, with a first talk describing available intervention programs that can be used via the internet as well as with the mobile phone. A second talk will present how barriers in the implementation of an E-Health intervention can be overcome based on experiences from a case study in the Balkans. A third talk will discuss results from current investigations on M-Health applications for the self-monitoring of mood and sleep in depressed patients. The last talk will give an overview on randomized trials in participants without a current depression that have examined the effects of preventive interventions on the incidence of major depressive disorders. Meta-analytical results will be given for universal, selective and indicated prevention, as well for specific target groups.


Bipolar disorder is a highly debilitating disorder for which the use of smartphones seems promising for symptom monitoring, interventions delivering and psychoeducation. The FACE-BD (FondaMental Advanced Centres of Expertise for Bipolar Disorders) will give their first results at the next EPA congress, based on a 3-year follow-up study. We will learn how the use of a dimensional approach (such as affective lability) might help the prediction of suicide attempts, how predictors of recurrences might be specific of type I versus II bipolar disorder, and how an app might help preventing relapses and support people at risk of suicide.


The EPA Committee of Education will organise a symposium analysing why the amount of dropout due to burnout amongst medical students, residents, junior doctors and staff consultants are on the raise, mental health professionals being no exception. All those feeling too much stress, uncertainty, workload or lack of consideration are concerned, which means the vast majority of us! Participants will work on the concept of burnout, and what we can do about it. We will also learn more on how to prevent ourselves from being victims and what actions should be considered to stop this epidemic.


There is now enough evidence to justify the implementation of early detection and intervention in first episode psychosis for improving mental health. Four eminent speakers (Anita Riecher-Rossler, Merete Nordentoft,  Johanna Wigman and Mirella Ruggeri) will discuss specific aspects, such as (1) the discrepancy between the evidence supporting the implementation of those services for patients all over Europe, and their uneven distribution over Europe, (2) how such services also reduce long-term risk of suicide for young people, and how (3) taking a transdiagnostic, personalised and developmental approach can help to design the most appropriate care.


When clinical concepts are being officially defined, clinicians need to become familiar with a lot of new information. The Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Section of the EPA will organise a symposium on Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI), a new individual diagnosis of DSM-5. It will therefore be interesting to learn more on this concept, such as its (1) links with suicide, its (2) risk factors, including life events, school type and ADHD, its psychopathology (3), with a focus on stress sensitivity in adolescents, and also the different (4) treatment possibilities. Gil Zalsman, Judit Balazs, Romuald Brunner and Lars Mehlum will be in charge of this interesting symposium.


Eating disorders remain astonishingly hard to understand and treat, an update on how we conceptualize them is then really needed, especially as recent works increased insight on environment, socio-emotional and neurocognitive associated factors and biomarkers. We will have excellent European specialists in the field with Fernando Fernandez-Aranda (Spain) and Ulrike Schmidt (UK) defining the socio-emotional and neurocognitive functioning in AN. Philip Gorwood will propose that physical activity and addiction are a core aspect of anorexia nervosa, and Nicolas Ramoz (France) will show that epigenetic biomarkers are changing according to the clinical state of patients.


All psychiatrists know that the premature death of patients with psychosis might be more easily explained by weight gain and related conditions rather than suicide. A symposium will therefore be devoted to the latest development on the prevalence, causes, pathways, clinical consequences and management of cardiometabolic disturbances in psychiatry. Prof. Correll will discuss evidence-based clinical recommendations to minimise such effects, while Prof. Eap will discuss the use of early thresholds in weight or lipid level increases to predict obesity or dyslipidemia. Prof. Kahl will then present how exercise can modulate visceral adipose tissue, and Prof Mueller will present new GWAS data on antipsychotics-induced weight gain and discuss the potential usefulness of predictive tests.

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