ESN seminar in Madrid

The ESN seminar ‘Building Partnerships in Mental Health for Economic and Social Integration’ which took place in Madrid on 20th November brought together 60 delegates, almost half of whom were from Spain. The first session of the seminar discussed the challenges faced by the different stakeholders providing services for people with mental health problems. In the second session, specific focus was given to the importance of coordination efforts between stakeholders and efficient partnerships.

The seminar started by addressing the link between the labour market and mental health. Robert Anderson from the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions gave an overview of how unemployment and mental health problems reinforce each other.

Antonio Hernandez Nieto, from BT Spain, presented a business case study discussing the BT mental wellbeing scheme for its employees. Hernandez Nieto presented the activities that they carry out to combat stigma and educate employees about the most common mental health problems.

Lorenzo Rampazzo from Veneto Region, a member of ESN, explained the cooperation and challenges of health and social services at the regional level when closing mental health hospitals and moving towards community-based services.

In addition to the role of health and social services, there was also a contribution from other stakeholders involved in the promotion of mental health. Particular attention was given to the situation of the homeless, one of the socially excluded groups more prone to experience mental health problems. A presentation from FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless) untangled the situation of homeless people with mental health problems and the role of NGOs in helping them.

The seminar closed with a discussion on the strategies to promote the cooperation and integration of services at the European and regional level, which were preceded by a presentation from the Spanish Ministry of Health and Social Policy on their National Mental Health Strategy. Download presentation in Spanish.

ESN will continue to work in the field of mental health next year in the form of a working group that will work closely with the implementation of the European Pact for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Delegates’ reflections on the seminar:

Fernando LamataCotanda, Regional Councillor of Health and Social Welfare, Castille-La-Mancha: “Individuals with mental illnesses are more vulnerable and many of them need help to live a life of dignity, creativity and independence.”

Lorenzo Rampazzo, Director, Mental Health Department, Veneto Region, Italy: “If you have the vision, you’ll find the way. Mentally ill people need an integrated and individualized project involving a variety of partners and professionals.”

Antonio Hernandez Nieto, Health and Safety Advisor, BT Group: “Investing in mental health can improve employees’ emotional resilience and their ability to cope with stress.”