Europe is facing a rise in the number of citizens who are diagnosed with mental disorders as figures indicate that up to 50 million citizens (about 11% of the European population) are being affected. The improvement of citizen’s mental health is a key resource for the realisation of the Europe 2020 targets and the success of the EU as a knowledge-based society. In this context, the launch of Member States’ Joint Action on Mental Health and Well-Being took place on 18 March 2013. This project, coordinated by Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal), is funded under the EU Health Programme and will be running until January 2016.

Mental health and wellbeing, prevention of mental disorders and the improvement of care and social inclusion of people with mental health problems in Europe are the drivers of the Joint Action. The initiative will bring together 45 associated and collaborating partners representing 27 EU Member States and associated countries. ESN is one of the collaborating partners, working closely with our members to input into the work of the Joint Action in the next three years.

The Joint Action will build on the work done under the European Pact for Mental Health and Well-being and will give sequence to the 2011 Council Conclusions on the European Pact for Mental Health and Well-being by establishing a process for structured cooperation involving the Member States and associated countries, the European Union, relevant stakeholders and international organisations. The expected result is a more comprehensive knowledge of mental health and wellbeing in the EU and the development of a framework for action.

The Joint Action will include 5 work packages:

  1. Preventing depression and suicide
  2. Developing community-based and socially inclusive approaches
  3. Promoting mental health in the workplace
  4. Promoting cooperation across education, health and social sectors in mental illness prevention amongst children and adolescents
  5. Mainstreaming mental health in all policy areas

ESN will provide support to work package leaders in order to help develop socially inclusive approaches in mental health; improve cooperation between sectors to promote positive mental health among children; and in collecting, assessing and recommending policies to mainstream mental health in all policies.