Welcome to the EARLY Project!

Our mission is to provide robust data on youth mental health in the European region and design, implement and evaluate evidence based interventions. With 19 partners from 14 countries, we are dedicated to addressing the critical issue of youth mental health and herewith reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases, especially mental health conditions, in youth. Through a mixed methods study, we aim to develop a comprehensive exposure matrix, understand perceptions on youth mental health, and provide representative, robust data on youth mental health. 

The project is committed to a comprehensive and ethically sound approach across all consortium partners, both within and outside the European Union. This includes adhering to legal and ethical requirements, ensuring data management and security, establishing causal pathways for mental health conditions, and analyzing national and international data on mental health and associated factors. Additionally, the project seeks to assess country preparedness for implementing youth mental health interventions, and map existing services for youth.


Meet the EARLY Advisory Board members

Prof. Dr. Richard F. Mollica, MD

Prof. Mollica is a prominent figure in psychiatry, specializing in trauma and recovery. He is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma (HPRT) at Massachusetts General Hospital. Since 1981, Dr. Mollica and HPRT have played a key role in advancing medical and mental health care for survivors of mass violence and torture globally. He has received awards for his impactful work and authored "Healing Invisible Wounds: Paths to Hope and Recovery in a Violent World".  

Dr. Mollica has published over 160 scientific articles. He and his team over the past 30 years have cared for over 10,000 survivors of extreme violence worldwide. Through his research, clinical work, and trainings he is recognized as a leader in the treatment and rehabilitation of traumatized people and their communities.


Prof. Bettina Borisch

Prof. Borisch is a global public health expert. She has a long experience in collaborating with international organizations, both at the UN level as well as at the European level. She also serves in different functions in the NGO sphere, such as President of Europa Donna, CEO of the World Federation of Public Health Associations, and board member of several other Public Health organizations. As a civil society worker, she focuses on strengthening the multilateral system and its organizations as well as putting the voice of the underserved high on the agenda. She has longstanding experience interacting with both European and global organizations.

She is a professor of Public Health at the Institute of Global Health, Medical Faculty, University of Geneva. A medical doctor by training she first specialized in clinical pathology and was the director of the Institute of Clinical Pathology, University of Geneva before orienting her work to Public Health. Her research interests include gender health, health systems, universal health coverage, and health governance. In her life as a histopathologist, she was involved in cancer research with an emphasis on Non-Hodgkin-Lymphomas and other neoplastic lesions such as breast cancer. This led to her public health work in breast cancer screening, early diagnosis, and treatment. More recently she focused on data, AI, and Public Health.


Prof. Martin McKee, CBE, MD, DSc, FMedSci

Prof. Dr. Martin McKee is a renowned Professor of European Public Health and the Medical Director at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). He is also Research Director of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. Prof. McKee was the President of the European Public Health Association and has published over 900 academic papers and 44 books. 


Prof. Dr. Sonia Saxena, MD 

Sonia Saxena is a Professor of Primary Care and Director of the Imperial Child Health Unit in the Department of Primary Care and Public Health at Imperial College London. She has worked as an inner-city GP since 1995 in London. Sonia Saxena holds the distinction of being the UK's first Asian female Professor of Primary Care, appointed in 2017. Her research aims are to improve child health and reduce inequalities by strengthening the evidence base for primary care and public health. 

Professor Saxena leads the Child Population Health Theme for the NIHR Northwest London Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) and a national work programme for the NIHR School for Public Health Research 'Harnessing data for Child Health'. As elected President of the Child and Adolescent Public Health for the European Public Health Association, she leads a network of over 3000 health professionals in a 3-year strategic plan to achieve a WHO ‘Triple-A rating (Analysis Advocacy Action) to improve children’s health in Europe (2021-2024). To date, she has published over 400 original articles with 40, 000 citations with wide-ranging impact. She has given numerous lectures and master classes in child health as a Visiting Professor in Europe, Asia, and North America.


Prof. Dr. Christian Schmahl, MD

Prof. Christian Schmahl is a prominent figure in the field of translational neurosciences, particularly focusing on the psychopathology of stress-related disorders, with a specific emphasis on Borderline Personality Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. He is a Professor of Experimental Psychopathology and Medical Director of the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany. 

His research focus is on emotion regulation, self-injurious behavior, and dissociation as well as the interaction of neurobiology and psychotherapy. Since 2018 he has been the spokesperson of the Research Training Group (GRK2350) "Impact of Adverse Childhood Experience on Psychosocial and Somatic Conditions Across the Lifespan”.



Meet the EARLY External Ethical Advisor

Dr. Luca Marelli, MA

Dr. Luca Marelli is Assistant Professor, Ethics and Governance of Health Research at the Department of Medical Biotechnology and Translational Medicine, University of Milan. He is a research fellow (visiting), at the Life Sciences & Society Lab, Centre for Sociological Research, KU Leuven.  

Luca Marelli is awarded the national scientific qualification (Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale) as Associate Professor, sector 06/A2, SSD MED/02 (history of medicine), from 02/13/2023 to 02/13/2033. His areas of specialization and research interests lie in research ethics, data governance and data ethics, science & technology studies (STS), sociology of digital health and biomedicine, and qualitative social science research.