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EuropeMental health: member states to take action across multiple levels, sectors and...

Mental health: member states to take action across multiple levels, sectors and ages

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Europeans has known psychological problem in the last year hence the importance of addressing mental health and well-being

Almost one in two Europeans has experienced an emotional or psychosocial problem in the last year. The recent context of compounded crises (the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the climate crisis, unemployment, and the food and energy price increases) has further worsened the situation, in particular for children and young people.

image 2 Mental health: member states to take action across multiple levels, sectors and ages

As you know, we are living in a time of polycrisis that has severely hit the mental health of Europeans. The COVID-19 pandemic, the consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the climate crisis are just some of the shocks which have exacerbated already poor levels of mental health. Improving mental health is a social and economic imperative. I am extremely pleased that, in the conclusions we have approved today, we have reached consensus on crucial issues such as the need to take a cross-cutting approach to mental health that covers all policies and recognises the social, environmental and economic causes of mental health.

Mónica García Gómez, Spanish Minister for Health

In its conclusions, the Council highlights the importance of addressing mental health and well-being in different contexts in the life course, which benefits both individuals and societies. It recognises the beneficial role of communities, schools, sports and culture in strengthening mental health and life-long mental well-being.

The conclusions invite member states to elaborate actions plans or strategies with a cross-sectoral approach to mental health, addressing not only health, but also employment, education, digitalisation and AI, culture, environment and climate factors, among other things.

Suggested actions aim to prevent and combat mental health problems and discrimination, while promoting wellbeing. Member states are invited to ensure access to timely, effective and safe mental health care, as well as to act across a wide spectrum of areas, sectors and ages, including:

  • early detection and awareness-raising at school and amongst young people
  • tackling loneliness, self-harm and suicidal behaviour
  • managing psychosocial risks at work, with special attention to health professionals
  • social and job reintegration after recovery to prevent relapses
  • measures against mental health stigma, hate speech and gender-based violence
  • using antidiscrimination as a prevention tool, with a focus on vulnerable groups

The conclusions encourage the member states and the Commission to continue moving towards a comprehensive approach to mental health maintaining this subject in the international agenda. This includes cooperation and coordination between EU member states and the Commission, such as exchanging best practices and promoting EU funding opportunities in the area of mental health, as well as designing actions and recommendations and monitoring progress.

The Council conclusions on mental health draw on the Commission’s communication on a comprehensive approach to mental health, published in June 2023. The topic of mental health is of the utmost importance to the Spanish presidency.

This set of conclusions is part of a wider cluster of conclusions on mental health that have been or will be approved during the Spanish presidency, including mental health and its interconnection with precarious working conditions, the mental health of young people, and mental health and co-occurrence with drug use disorders (the latter to be approved in December).

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