Evidence-based recommendations for a comprehensive approach to mental health

In the State of the European Union speech in September 2022, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a proposed initiative for a Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health. This came after the 9th proposal by the Conference on the Future of Europe, which recommended the production of an EU Action Plan for mental health and long-term mental health strategy. 

EPHA strongly supports the European Commission’s proposed initiative as an opportunity to create sustainable commitment to the mental health of all EU citizens. Representing our diverse membership and cross-sectoral specialities, we made the following evidence-based recommendations: 

  1. Develop a European Mental Health Strategy, with a clear timeline, adequate budget, objectives and indicators, and a robust monitoring and implementation framework
  2. Adopt a psychosocial approach to addressing mental health in all policies, considering the social determinants of health, racism and discrimination. This must be addressed with a rights-based approach, alongside addressing stigma and endorsing trauma-informed practices. It is critical that sufficient data on protected characteristics such as ethnicity is collected and publicly available.
  3. Address mental health implications in all policies. Mental health is affected by social, economic, commercial and political factors, which must be addressed in all policies. Addressing how our physical environment and pollution influence mental health and other NCDs must be recognised.
  4. Achieve resilient mental health services with sustainable, reliable investment. Addressing mental health workforce shortages is critical for improving service accessibility and future pandemic preparedness.
  5. Improve access to mental health services. Universal health coverage and integration of mental health services into primary care, social services and alcohol/addiction services is essential for improving access and equity.

The full response and detailed annexe can be found here.

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