The center was founded in 2007 as non-profit organization. It is devoted to mental health research applying theories and methods derived from social sciences. Main research areas are public attitudes about mental disorders and social epidemiology of mental health problems. Attitude research focuses on public perception of mental illnesses and those afflicted, variation of attitudes over time and across different cultures, and mechanisms involved in stigma and discrimination. Epidemiological research includes estimating the prevalence of common mental disorders and assessing their correlates, such as risk factors, social consequences and patterns of and barriers to service use. Results of both may help strengthen the scientific foundation of interventions aimed at improving public mental health and increasing social acceptance of mentally ill people.
In addition, within the framework of the WHO World Mental Health initiative the center is collaborating with research centers in over 28 countries around the world.