Concluding meeting in Brussels

Following the launch of the ESN report on mental health at the European Parliament on 21 September 2011, ESN’s Working Group on Mental Health and Wellbeing met the next day to discuss a statement on recommendations for future action in the field of mental health. Focusing on the implementation of the European Mental Health Pact in the framework of the Europe 2020 Strategy, ESN wanted to highlight the importance of a stronger presence of mental health and mental wellbeing within the framework that will lead policy directions up to the year 2020.

ESN has recognised that health and social services working with people who have mental health problems should be person-centred, count on users’ involvement and focus on their strengths and resources. Therefore, the working group has focused on local services that are person-centred and recovery-oriented, supported by a clear policy framework and sustainable funding. This is one of the main messages of the Mental Health report launched by ESN at the European Parliament (the report is available for download in English, French, Italian, Spanish and German in our Publications).

At the meeting, the Group recognised that person-centred services should take individual account of people in specific periods of their lives:

  • Children
  • Young people
  • People of working age
  • Older people

For the Group, it is essential to invest in mental well-being for every child focusing on the need to raise awareness with education, health, housing and social welfare services, recognising that mental well-being of children is a strong predictor of mental health in adulthood. The Group highlighted the need to provide holistic services or as they put it “one-stop shop” services for young people in which role models and peer support are key to prevent suicidal and depressive behaviours, high amongst youngsters in Europe.

In order to achieve the EU 2020 objectives, the improvement of competitiveness and employment rates is essential. A healthy, productive employee makes a vital contribution to a company’s success and competitiveness and therefore, workplace health and well-being promotion strategies are worth. Public services as one of the biggest employers in Europe should lead the way in mental health and well-being promotion at the workplace.

Finally, the members of the Group emphasised that health and social care services should work together to prioritise disease prevention and health promotion in older people (an age group where mental health problems are more common). These are just some of the ideas that the members of the Group highlighted in the statement that followed up the event. Download full statement.