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Palliative care in severe mental illnesses

Guest Editors:
Bárbara AntunesUniversity of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Eva Katharina Masel: Medical University of Vienna, Austria
Christian Schulz-Quach: Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Canada

BMC Palliative Care has published this Collection on palliative care challenges and interventions in people affected by mental illnesses. 

Meet the Guest Editors

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Dr. Bárbara Antunes: University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Dr. Bárbara Antunes, MSc, Ph.D., obtained her Ph.D. in Health Services and Clinical Research at the School of Medicine of the University of Porto, Portugal. Her work was about improving outcome measurement for advanced disease patients and their families by enhancing the clinical utility of patient-centered outcome measures and understanding how best to implement them in clinical practice. Her current work is mainly on anticipatory prescribing and how to standardize its practice without compromising individualized patient care.

Dr. Eva Katharina Masel: Medical University of Vienna, Austria

Eva Katharina Masel, MD, Ph.D., MSc, is head of the Clinical Division of Palliative Medicine at the Vienna General Hospital of the Medical University of Vienna and a Professor of Palliative Medicine. She is the research group leader of the Research Group Palliative Care at the Medical University of Vienna. Her research focuses on the palliative care of patients and families facing serious illnesses, symptom management, treatment of psychiatric comorbidities and psychosocial aspects, and  ​medical humanities.

Dr. Christian Schulz-Quach: Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Canada

Dr. Christian Schulz-Quach, MD, MSc, MA, MRCPSych, is a staff psychiatrist at the Department of Supportive Care, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada. He is a Clinician Educator and Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, Canada, and a board-certified Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist with work experience in Germany, UK, US, and Canada. He has specialty training in Psychosomatic Medicine, Medical Psychotherapy, and Palliative Medicine and is a candidate at the Toronto Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis. His special interest is Existential Psychoanalysis.

Palliative care in severe mental illnesses

BMC Palliative Care has published this Collection on palliative care challenges and interventions in people affected by mental illnesses. 

Traditionally, palliative care has focused on patients living with life-threatening somatic diseases such as cancer or progressive neurological disorders. However, in recent years there has been a growing interest in palliative care approaches in severe and persistent mental illness, accompanied by introducing the ‘palliative psychiatry’ concept. While curative psychiatry focuses on the mental disorder with the aim of (partial) remission, palliative psychiatry offers valuable means of improving the quality of life of patients with severe mental illnesses, recognizing that some psychiatric symptoms are irremediable.

In recognition of the emerging field, BMC Palliative Care has published this Collection which encouraged submissions including but not limited to those addressing:

• Palliative care interventions for people with mental illnesses

• Palliative care interventions for people who develop mental illness when/after being diagnosed with a life-threatening condition 

• Benefits and risks of a palliative approach to psychiatry

• Attitudes of healthcare professionals toward palliative psychiatry

• Advance Care Planning and mental illness 

Image credit: © Srdjan /

  1. Access to palliative care is often limited for challenging and vulnerable groups, including persons with substance use disorders. However, with optimized healthcare options and liberal substitution policies, t...

    Authors: Laura Marti, Ellen Hünerwadel, Bigna Hut, Sebastian M. Christ, Fabienne Däster, Markus Schettle, Annina Seiler, David Blum and Caroline Hertler
    Citation: BMC Palliative Care 2024 23:28
  2. This study aimed to evaluate the risk and protective factors associated with anxiety and depression symptoms in cancer patients at an advanced stage of cancer.

    Authors: Gustavo Souza Gontijo Garcia, Karina Cardoso Meira, Alessandra Hubner de Souza and Nathalia Sernizon Guimarães
    Citation: BMC Palliative Care 2023 22:116
  3. In this editorial, we highlight the interaction between patients who are diagnosed with severe mental illness and their treatment within palliative care, a clinical area of specialized focus which has a multit...

    Authors: Eva Katharina Masel, Bárbara Antunes and Christian Schulz-Quach
    Citation: BMC Palliative Care 2023 22:31

Submission Guidelines

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This Collection welcomes the submission of Research Articles. Should you wish to submit a different article type, please read our submission guidelines to confirm that type is accepted by the journal. Articles for this Collection should be submitted via our submission system, Snapp. During the submission process you will be asked whether you are submitting to a Collection, please select "Palliative care in severe mental illnesses" from the dropdown menu.

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Guest Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions for which the Guest Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.