In every year over a third of the total EU population suffers from mental disorders. The true size of "disorders of the brain" including neurological disorders is even considerably larger. Disorders of the brain are the largest contributor to the all cause morbidity burden as measured by DALY in the EU. No indications for increasing overall rates of mental disorders were found nor of improved care and treatment since 2005; less than one third of all cases receive any treatment, suggesting a considerable level of unmet needs. We conclude that the true size and burden of disorders of the brain in the EU was significantly underestimated in the past. Concerted priority action is needed at all levels, including substantially increased funding for basic, clinical and public health research in order to identify better strategies for improved prevention and treatment for disorders of the brain as the core health challenge of the 21st century.