Wouter Vanderplasschen

     Wouter Vanderplasschen


What is your main driver for doing research?

Improving the situations of vulnerable populations and individuals in socially disadvantaged situations is my main impetus for doing research. By studying risk and protective factors among these populations and by investigating interventions and types of support we aim to contribute to better living conditions and quality of life for individuals in vulnerable situations and to shape needed services and resources for supporting them to reach these objectives. 

Why do you believe that strengthening mental health is so important?

Improving mental health is of crucial importance to society, as it is key to global and individual well-being. The Latin proverb ‘Mens sana in corpore sano’ illustrates the close correlation between physical and mental health and the importance of mental health for a good and satisfying life.

How could research change the world?

Research can make a difference, as it shows us what to do and – also important – what not to do in situations characterized by adversity and ill-health. By doing research on recovery, we aim to discover crucial pathways and important mechanisms that contribute to recovery from addiction and other mental health problems. A multi-perspective approach to research is crucial, including attention for first person narratives as they are the ones with lived experiences of mental health and its treatment.

With whom outside academia did you already collaborate and achieved important results?

As an orthopedagogue, most of my research involves stakeholders at practice and policy level. Important achievements outside academia include the publication of an ‘Insights’ publication on therapeutic communities for addictions, commissioned by the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). Following my PhD research, case management was implemented in diverse settings to improve coordination and continuity of care, and strengths-based approaches were promoted in the field of forensic mental health care and addictions.




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