WHO Collaborating Centres
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Version 1.5
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Ref.No. [Initiator]
SPA-20 [Headquarters]
Title of the centre:
  WHO Collaborating Centre for Research & Training in Mental Health

Director / Head: 
  Prof Juan José Lopez-Ibor

  Instituto de Psiquiatría y Salud Mental
  Hospital Universitario San Carlos
  Plaza Cristo Rey s/n,
  (34-1) 330 3572
  (34-1) 330 3572
Web Site:
Date of Designation:
Last Redesignation:
Date of Discontinuation:
Terms of Reference:
  1. To carry out research on the etiopathogenesis of mental disorders as the basis for a new nosological approach A great part of the research of the WHO Collaborating Center in Madrid is oriented to this nosological perspective with the goal of finding a more accurate diagnostic approach which can help to make individualized prescriptions both biological and psychotherapeutical for patients. This broad goal is the umbrella for the bullets 2 and 3. The WHO Collaborating Center in Madrid has intensively been involved with the development of ICD-10 Chapter on Mental Disorders in its different versions and with the instruments attached to it. Prof. Juan J. López-Ibor is at present a member of the Task Force on DSM-V and of the Global Scientific Partnership Coordinating Group constituted by the WHO International Advisory Group for the Revision of ICD-10 Mental and Behavioural Disorders. 
  2. To carry out research on the neurobiological approaches to the diagnosis of mental disorders At present the WHO Collaborating Center is carrying out research on several mental disorders with neuroimaging techniques (fMRI, MEG, PET) using cognitive paradigms to see how the brain solves tasks in these diseases and in normal subjects. The second line of research is psychoneuroendocrinology used to disentangle stress, depression and some behaviours frequent in patients with personality or eating disorders. The third approach is genetic, trying to find both vulnerability genes and genes that protect from the appearance of diseases. 
  3. To carry out research on epistemology The new cognitive sciences have brought new data on delusions and other psychopathological manifestations which should be considered under the light of the historical and philosophical research so rich in psychiatry. 
  4. To develop programs of interventions in disaster interventions and psychotraumatology The WHO Collaborating Center in Madrid has been involved in the response in disasters such as the train bombings in Madrid 11th March 2004 and participates in the creation of a network of centers of Northern and Southern Mediterranean countries to fight the consequences of disasters and of mass violence in children (Child Trauma Network). The outcome of this experience and studies will be an e-learning program in internet, freely available and in several languages for training, guidance and interventions in such situations. 
  5. Evidence based mental health In the past many approaches to mental health delivery of care have been highly influenced by ideologies. The Institute of Psychiatry and Mental Health has been a good opportunity to try to implement managerial techniques to a clinical unit serving a catchment area of 550,000 inhabitants and being reference for special programs for the rest of Madrid (psychotrauma and homeless mentally ill persons). The Institute is organised along the model of the EFQM quality approach and all its elements are evaluated under scientific perspectives, including the outcome in patients. 
  1. Mental health & neurosciences 
  2. Classifications of diseases 
Types of activity:
  1. Providing technical advise to WHO 
  2. Standardization of terminology and nomenclature 
  3. Development and application of appropriate technology 
WHO Outputs:
  Ower: 3.5 - Guidance and support provided to Member States for the preparation and implementation of multisectoral, population-wide programmes to promote mental health and to prevent mental and behavioural disorders, violence and injuries, together with hearing and visual impairment, including blindness
  Ower: 3.1 - Advocacy and support provided to increase political, financial and technical commitment in Member States in order to tackle chronic noncommunicable diseases, mental and behavioural disorders, violence, injuries and disabilities together with visual impairment, including blindness.
Responsible Officer:
  SAXENA Shekhar
  +41 22 791 3625

Technical Counterpart:
Access to annual progress reports and the current workplan (this is accessible to WHO Staff Members only):
  Link to eWork