The European Psychiatric Association (EPA)
was founded in October 1983 in the library of the Psychiatric Clinic of the University Hospitals of Strasbourg. The founding members were twelve French- and German-speaking University Psychiatrists: Professor Manfred Ackenheil † (Munich), Professor Peter Berner † (Vienna), Professor Daniel Bobon † (Liège), Professor Horst Dilling (Lübeck), Professor Henri Dufour † (Marseille), Professor Hans Heimann † (Tübingen), Professor Hans Hippius (Munich), Professor Michel Patris (Strasbourg), Professor Pierre Pichot (Paris), Professor Charles Pull (Luxembourg), Professor Werner Rein (Tübingen) and Professor Léonard Singer † (Strasbourg). The association was then given the name “Association of European Psychiatrists (AEP)”.
The objective of the AEP founding members was to establish an Association of French and German Psychiatrists, which would promote European Psychiatry in the fields of research, treatment and teaching, three axes considered to be unequivocally complementary.
Another objective was to establish an Association of psychiatrists that would act as a privileged mediator between practitioners, official councils and public authorities on matters relating to mental health policies. Besides, in the mind of its founding members, this Franco-German Association was to be the first step towards the creation of an Association gathering psychiatrists from all European countries.
In order to reach these goals, AEP gradually set up the organisation of the annual European Congress of Psychiatry, as well as other regular scientific meetings, the publication of a scientific international journal, the awarding of research grants and the creation of sections, as working groups corresponding to sub-disciplines in psychiatry.
Since its foundation and the inaugural Symposium held in May 1984, the number of AEP members had been growing steadily and its extension to all countries - members of the Council of Europe proceeded rapidly. As a consequence, AEP was granted in February 1989 a consultant status at the Council of Europe followed by a participatory status in 2003.
Strasbourg was selected as the seat of the Association. This choice derived from political, cultural and scientific reasons: Strasbourg is the seat of numerous international and European institutions, is situated in the centre of Europe, and is the university centre where the long - prevailing French and German psychiatric schools blended.
In 2008, the Extraordinary General Assembly brought about important changes to Association’s statutes and future. A notable evolution applies to the new name of the organisation, called “European Psychiatric Association” (EPA) from then on. This change was well motivated by the wish to be in harmony with the name of its European and international partners, as also with the title of its European Congress.
Another major achievement has been inspired by the interest of the association in increasing its cooperation with national psychiatric associations. For this reason, EPA changed its statutes in 2012 and offers now the possibility to national psychiatric associations to become full members, while still preserving the possibility of individual membership.
EPA is the most visible psychiatric association in Europe, basing its growth on the development of collaborative projects with other major psychiatric organisations, such as the European College of Neuro-Psychopharmacology (ECNP), the German Research Network on Schizophrenia (ECSR), the International Society of Neurobiology and Psychopharmacology, the European Brain Council (EBC) and the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS).