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EPHA Member Mental Health Europe (MHE)
and the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless (FEANTSA) organised a hearing hosted by Kinga Göncz MEP (S & D, HU) in the European Parliament. It focused on existing inequalities from the viewpoint of homeless people with mental health problems.

As EPHA informed its members prior to the meeting, the meeting was organised around the European Year of Citizens 2013. As it is becoming increasingly evident, discussion around this issue still lack a crucial element – acknowledging the deep inequalities still present in all EU Member States.

People worst hit are those experiencing the highest levels of exclusion, among them people with mental health problems that are homeless.

Event’s programme and background document.

The objectives of the meeting were as follows:

. Raising awareness of health inequalities. Emphasizing how poverty and social exclusion can put mental health at risk and prevent full participation in society.

. Presenting tools to prevent mental health problems and homelessness, and to improve mental health in people who are homeless.

. Understanding what more could be done to tackle health inequalities at the EU level, particularly in the context of the European Year of Citizens 2013.

The first session introduced by Edite Estrela MEP (S&D, PT) examined the Health inequalities in the EU. Additional in-depth analysis was provided by the invited speakers:
. Roberto Bertollini M.D., WHO
. Sue Irving, chairperson of FEANTSA’s Health and Social Protection Working Group, Scottish Council for Single Homeless
. Arnaud Senn, M.D., DG EMPL.

The second session opened by Angelika Werthmann MEP (ALDE, AT), explored in more depth the possibilities of preventing mental health problems and promoting homeless people’s mental health.

The speakers of this second panel were:

. Preben Brandt UDENFOR, Chair of MHE’s Task Force on Social Inclusion of Vulnerable Group
. Stefa Priebe, Professor for Social and Community Psychiatry, Queen Mary University of London)
. Jörgen Scheftlein, DG SANCO.

Conclusions

“With this event, we call for an inclusive European Year 2013, a year that will highlight and aid all those persons who today cannot enjoy their European citizenship, as some of their fundamental needs and rights are not respected or met,” said Maria Nyman, MHE Director.

“The right to health for people experiencing homelessness should be at the heart of the action taken by states to improve the health of their citizens, reduce health inequalities and provide a good standard of healthcare to all citizens without distinction,” added Freek Spinnewijn, FEANTSA Director.

More information on [Mental Health Europe’s (MHE) website.

Interested Members may contact Suzannah Young, FEANTSA Communications and Information Officer at suzannah.young@feantsa.org or Silvana Enculescu, MHE Communications Manager at silvana.enculescu@mhe-sme.org

Please see the Policy Statement on Health Care Entitlements for People who are Homeless prepared by FEANTSA

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EPHA related articles

European Economic and Social Committee advocates for 2014 to be the European Year on Mental Health
EPHA Working Group on Mental Health – October 2012
Preventing suicide, the WHO supports governments in acting against this collective responsibility
Ending homelessness – a call for action in the EU
Most EU Member States Fail to Ensure the Right to Housing – FEANTSA Press Release
EPHA Briefing Paper on Health Inequalities

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