As congress president I would like to invite you to the 6th European Conference on Schizophrenia Research, which will be held from 14 – 16 September 2017 in Berlin (Germany) under the motto “Advancing Research – Promoting Recovery”.
In recent years there is a growing interest in the concept of “recovery” and the implementation of a respective strength-based and goal-striving therapeutic approach, anticipating the fact that it is recovery that matters most to our clients and not mere symptom remission. Accordingly recovery-orientation basically requires a co-operative attitude of professionals towards their patients and a significant reorganisation of services. There are different kinds of definitions and models of recovery (e.g. stage and task models), and a considerable number of publications refer to research programmes that accompanied the development of recovery-oriented services, and tested the effectiveness of respective interventions. As Robert Drake stated in a review published in 2014 “...the proliferation of definitions, models, and research on recovery (makes) it vitally important to examine the data to disentangle the evidence from the rhetoric.”
The ECSR 2017 intends to contribute exactly to this process of evaluating the evidence, and tries to identify the active ingredients of such interventions and services. Yet despite growing evidence and efforts to disseminate the recovery-concept and implement respective personcentred programmes and services it is obvious that the majority of people with schizophrenia (and other severe mental illnesses) still live in a manner inconsistent with recovery – just remember the high rates of unemployment for example. Thus, there is an urgent need for further collaborative efforts to enhance recovery and for a critical appraisal of current initiatives in order to identify persistent challenges and barriers to achieve the intended improvements. Yet an important issue with regard to evaluation is the complexity of the recovery process that extends to design and methodological aspects of related research.
The ECSR 2017 will be an ideal platform to present new data and findings of research concerning the complex issue of recovery and beyond. Accordingly the active contribution of (basic, clinical, health services) researchers, clinicians and therapists to the scientific programme is most welcome and those are cordially invited to join us.
I look forward to meeting with you in Berlin in autumn 2017 at the ECSR.
Wolfgang Gaebel Congress President