The second meeting of the Mental Health Policy and Practice Group was hosted by the Danish Psychosocial Rehabilitation Information Centre (VISP), member of ESN, in Copenhagen on 16 - 17 September. The discussion highlighted the 8 priority areas identified in their first meeting and focused strongly on personalisation, rehabilitation and recovery.

The meeting started with a discussion on how the translation of rights and values works in practice. Antje Welke looked at the UN Convention of Human Rights for people with disabilities and explained that the Convention understands the concept from a social perspective. According to the convention, any barriers to living a full life for people with mental health problems are caused by society, not by the individual.

The group then focused on the individual and Lucy Butler highlighted that personalisation is key because it enables people to have optimal control over their own care. Anders Møller Jensen from Denmark joined the personalisation debate discussing concepts of personal recovery and action plans. Marianne Cohen from Recovery DK in Aarhus Municipality explained to the group what the concept of recovery meant and how it was being translated into policy action at the local level. JohanneBratbo from Denmark showed how VISP is helping people with mental health conditions that have recovered, for instance, use their competencies to work in psychiatry.

Local public services are key in the delivery process. Terry Madden from Ireland looked at the role of municipalities in building strategic cooperation between all stakeholders, essential to guarantee the success and efficiency of any strategy. She looked at a concrete example of a multiagency group in the field of mental health and the barriers to a successful cooperation such as bureaucracy, political willingness and lack of communication.

Hristo Bozov from Bulgaria explained the steps that the City of Varna has undertaken in the last 10 years in closing down psychiatric hospitals. Bozov presented a case of a 50 year old woman, who with the help of the Municipality, has been re-integrated into the labour market. To this end, Andrea Angelozzi from Italy put forth the economic case for investing in mental health and re-integration process by undertaking a costs-benefits analysis.

In order to advance in de-stigmatisation, effective and innovative campaigns are necessary. Marta Nieto presented the new anti-stigma campaign developed by Castilla La Mancha (Spain) aimed at being as inclusive as possible with the participation of most sectors of society. 

Finally, Eija Stengård tried to answer the difficult question of whether there is a shared vision on mental health across the EU by stressing the fact that most mental health determinants are outside the health sector, therefore, cooperation amongst all sectors involved is key to guarantee successful policy making.

The next meeting will build on these conclusions and will further discuss the model of recovery as an expression of a personalized approach to mental.