In the European Union, an estimated 84 million individuals grapple with enduring mental health conditions, including but not limited to anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, schizophrenia, eating disorders, disruptive behaviour, dissocial disorders, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Mental health concerns, while of paramount importance, often eclipse the physical health challenges faced by this demographic, notably cancer, which ranks as the second leading cause of death after suicide.

This group is not only disadvantaged by limited access to quality preventive healthcare services but is also frequently overlooked in research. This issue is exacerbated by higher rates of smoking and obesity. There is an urgent call to action for the research community, social workers, healthcare professionals, and public administration to collaborate closely with physical and mental care systems. This collaboration aims to gather more data and evaluate the impact of implementing primary cancer prevention interventions within this population.

CO-CAPTAIN aims to adapt the features of PN for primary cancer prevention to the specific needs of people with mental illness and identify implementation strategies for local communities in the 5 pilot sites.

Our approach is pivotal in overcoming barriers that hinder individuals with mental health conditions from accessing the most suitable care. We will mark a significant step towards providing high-quality preventive cancer care services for people living with mental health conditions.

Bullet points

I-1

The Health Navigator model is a proven, cost-effective approach.

I-2

By focusing on underserved communities, we can make a significant contribution to Public Health, particularly in the areas of mental health and healthcare services.

I-3

Early interventions not only improve long-term individual outcomes but also have a profound impact on the health of communities and the efficiency of healthcare systems.

I-4

The cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of prevention and screening actions are well- demonstrated.

Pilots

AUSTRIA

In Austria, recent studies indicate a point prevalence of mental illnesses in the general population between 16 and 19.6%, with a reported 10-year prevalence of approximately 15.6% (Laszewska et al, 2018).

GREECE

The Greek Statistical Association (2019) reports that 3.8% of Greeks aged 15 and over have experienced depression, and 5.6% have suffered from anxiety disorders. Nearly 29% of participants reported experiencing at least one negative emotion or situation in the two weeks preceding the survey. Furthermore, 4.1% of the population reported visiting a psychiatrist or psychologist in the past year.

POLAND

In Poland, over a quarter of the population aged 18 and older has experienced a mental health problem. Only 16% of individuals with mental health disorders have sought professional psychiatric or psychological assistance. This stems not only from limited specialist availability but also due to the prejudices held by others against individuals facing mental health challenges (EZOP II, 2021).

SPAIN

In Spain, and specifically in Madrid, neuropsychiatric diseases are the leading cause of disease burden. The burden is particularly high among young people and adults under 45, primarily due to depression. Women of all age groups are predominantly affected. The prevalence of Severe Mental Disorder is estimated between 0.6% and 1% of the population, which in Madrid represents between 39,000 and 65,000 people.