Protect ME

Proactive Technology-supported prevention and Mental Health in adolescence (Protect ME)


Societal problem. 13-25% of Dutch youth (aged 12-25) suffers from depression or anxiety. Such mental health problems have long-lasting negative effects, including educational dropout, worse physical health, and increased inequality. Mental health problems cost Dutch society 2 billion euro annually. Adequate and timely identification and treatment are currently impossible, due to long waiting lists, time-consuming monitoring procedures, and the lack of personalized, proactive prevention strategies. Hence, systematic changes in our approach to youth mental health are sorely needed.

Scientific ambition: Optimizing the well-being of Dutch youth aged 12 to 25 by:

(WP 1) improving early identification of mental health problems, using cutting edge real-time measures, smartphone and wearable technology, and data modeling;

(WP 2) improving decision making of who needs which intervention and when, combining professional expertise with artificial intelligence;

(WP 3) creating and evaluating new technology-driven proactive interventions (e.g., eHealth).

Our integrated approach involves stakeholders and end users in each step (WP 4); and builds a sustainable infrastructure and collaboration for convergence and impact (WP 5).

Output, outcome, impact. Apart from obtaining ground-breaking scientific insights into the antecedents of mental health problems, we will immediately provide new ways to improve detection, decision making and intervention, new methods and approaches, and user-friendly and cost-effective solutions for youth and professionals. In the long-term, this results in proactive, personalized, accessible, and cost-effective prevention of mental health problems, based on a sustainable business proposition. The ultimate impact will be a decrease in adolescents entering specialized mental health care, shorter waiting lists, a significant reduction in societal costs of adolescent mental health problems, and, most importantly, the optimal well-being of all youth.

Fit to convergence. Medical sciences, social science, humanities, and technology converge to promote this grand transition in mental health care, for those who need us most: Our children, our future.

Flagship leads

  1. Loes Keijsers
  2. Manon Hillegers
  3. Willem-Paul Brinkman