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Diagnostics and treatment

Epidemiology and Early detection of mental disorders

Our developmentally sensitive epidemiologic studies cover the full spectrum of psychopathological conditions as well as behavioral and psychological factors contributing to the development of mental disorders, with a core analytic focus on early trajectories and conditions which are jointly responsible for the largest proportion of disability burden worldwide (anxiety, stress-related, depressive and substance use disorders). The identification of early disease trajectories including comorbidity development as well as common and distinct risk and protective factors is highly relevant for designing timely preventive and early therapeutic interventions promising to impact on population health by reducing the overall incidence of mental disorders. Our research relies on a wealth of different state-of-the-art research methods and a broad spectrum of assessment tools, including self-reports, standardized diagnostics, observations, assessments of neurobiological factors (e.g. biomarkers in blood/saliva, brain systems/networks) and technical devices for real-time assessment (e.g. actigraphy, smartphone-based ecological momentary assessments (EMA)).

Mental Health Dresden-Leipzig is involved in the following selected projects:










German National Cohort


Housing and Living in Leipzig-Grünau








Early psychotherapeutic and pharmacological Intervention in at-risk and manifest patients

​Focusing on a mechanistic understanding of mental disorders and the study of at-risk populations enables the identification of vulnerability markers and consequently early diagnosis and preventive intervention. Given the high prevalence of mental disorders and the very high individual and societal burden, early interventions are key. A major vulnerability is the capacity to deal with stressors and we could specify the particular deficits in regulating emotions in critical situations as a marker that should be focused on early. Similarly, social interaction deficits are predominant characteristics across mental disorders and understanding the socio-affective and -cognitive mechanisms that enable interaction is key to improvement.

Mental Health Dresden-Leipzig is involved in the following selected projects:


EarlyCBT  (

VR – A virtual world for neuropsychological diagnostics and therapy of cognitive functions will be developed to enable neuropsychological diagnostics relevant to everyday life for patients from childhood to adulthood




Mental Health Services Research

​Researchers from Mental Health Dresden-Leipzig have special expertise in the assessment of structure, process, and outcome of health care provision.

The Division of Mental Health Services Research is investigating the structures, processes and results of health services. Its research domains are individuals, organizations, institutions, communities, and populations. This research is sponsored by third-party funds from different sources e.g. European Commission (CONNECT, COPING, DEMoB.INC, STOP), BMBF (MEMENTA), BMG (IVPOWER), DFG (FINK 2.0; PROMPT-ID).  Current activities focus on research into the social inclusion and social participation of mentally ill people as well as on research into the health care of adults with intellectual disabilities (ID), particular on promoting the implementation of existing guidelines for psychopharmacotherapy of adults with ID. In addition, according to the Saxon Mental Health Act (SächsPsychKG), the division holds the project leadership and responsibility for analysing the data collected by community psychiatric care institutions in the entire state of Saxony (4,1 mio inhabitants). The main aims of this project are to determine trends and regional differences in the incidence and prevalence of treatment episodes, to provide basics of health planning as well as epidemiological research.

The Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Medicine and Public Health (ISAP) at the Medical Faculty in Leipzig has wide expertise in mental health services research, boasting a number of BMBF-funded studies. Pertinent ongoing research includes a study into comorbidity, treatment preferences and the role of E-Health interventions in relation to obsesity and depression in primary care (BMBF), a study on attitudes towards cancer prevention and screening in women with obesity and health care professionals (BMBF), and a BMBF-funded study into the optimization of care for late-life depression.

Mental Health Dresden-Leipzig is involved in the following selected projects:




F-INK 2.0 (



Digital Health

​Mental Health Dresden-Leipzig contributes to "personalized medicine" by directly translating descriptive and analytic findings on risk and protective factors and disease trajectories into practice.

The Else Kröner-Fresenius Center for Digital Health is a joint cross-faculty initiative at the TUD, the University Hospital Dresden along with several other partners on the Dresden campus and focuses its research effort on the direct interface of the digital world to the patient thereby serving as a bridge between medical big data efforts and traditional biomedical engineering.

The Chair of Clinical Psychology and E-Mental Health has specialized in the development and evaluation of E-Mental Health (or digital/online) interventions.

BipoLife A3 Smartphone Study – the largest intervention study in German speaking countries studying the usefulness of a smartphone-based feedback loop triggering early interventions at the detection of warning signs for affective episodes in bipolar disorders.

BeMIND study – a longitudinal epidemiological study which aims to understand the course of health and illness over time and to identify risk and protective factors. To this end, the role of experience and behavior in everyday life is examined using new scientific methods (e.g. smartphone surveys, heart rate and movement measurement) to find out how these, in conjunction with family and other environmental influences and biological factors, influence mental and physical well-being.

NeuroFast is a multidisciplinary project in which twelve European research institutes of seven different nations are involved. The main research focus is to investigate the neurobiological foundation of substance abuse and addiction and to investigate whether those mechanisms play a part in eating certain food and in people with a disturbed eating behavior.

ICare​ is a project aiming to integrate technology in Mental Health Care. Even if the body of evidence for internet-based interventions for the prevention and treatment of mental health conditions has grown rapidly in the past decade, many countries have not implemented these effective approaches into health systems. By establishing a comprehensive model of promoting mental health in Europe researchers want to change this. The ICare online platform encompasses evidence-based risk detection, disease prevention, and treatment facilitation for common mental health disorders.

Ongoing pertinent projects at the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine at the University of Leipzig include the investigation of internet-based therapies for physicians with traumatic work-related experiences (IPSA) and the development and evaluation of a self-help app for traumatized Syrian refugees (HELP@APP). Past studies have focused on internet therapy after cancer or suicide-related loss of a relative and for persons who have lost a child during pregnancy, an internet-based walking intervention for adipose pregnant women with prenatal depression and internet-based psychotherapy for binge eating disorder.

The Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Medicine and Public Health (ISAP) has expertise in digital health research, most notably – a cluster-randomized control study aiming for the development, evaluation and implementation of a behavioral-therapeutic online self-management program for persons with mild to moderate depressive disorders in a German general practitioners' setting (funding: AOK-Bundesverband), – improving care of late-life depression: acceptability, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the web-based self-management "trauer@ktiv" program (funding: BMBF) , and @ktiv-rollout, a study on the implementation of self-help-strengthening online coaches in various treatment settings (funding: AOK-Bundesverband).

The Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy is conducting Pro-HEAD (PROmoting Help-seeking using E-technology for ADolescents) a BMBF-funded consortium (2017-2021; funding stream: Child and Adolescent Health "Healthy – for a lifetime") with the aim of developing, implementing and evaluating special internet-based interventions that promote the mental wellbeing of children and adolescents, prevent the manifestation of mental illness/disorders and promote help-seeking among children and adolescents with mental problems, and to gain insights into the predictors and obstacles of help-seeking. Other relevant projects at the department include evaluations of online support services during the Covid-19 pandemic for cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD and a group-chat application in psychiatric outpatient clinic of Leipzig University.

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