26 September 2019

MHE releases reflection paper on mental health and SDGs

20-30 September 2019 marks the Global Week of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On this occasion, Mental Health Europe (MHE) released a reflection paper which analyses how SDGs can contribute to a human rights dimension of mental health and what role the EU can play in this regard.


This week is the 4th anniversary of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Countries across the world, including the European Union (EU) and the EU Member States, have committed to implement the UN SDGs by 2030. On 24 and 25 September 2019, Heads of State and Government met at the SDG Summit to review progress in the implementation of the Agenda 2030 for the first time since its adoption. The Summit resulted in a Political declaration in which world leaders underlined their commitment to tackling what MHE identifies as long-term social determinants of mental health, namely poverty and inequality in all possible forms, including gender inequality. To fulfill this vision, Heads of State committed to ensuring universal health coverage and quality health care.


To use this momentum and to celebrate the Global Week of Action, Mental Health Europe has released a reflection paper which provides an insight into the potential of the SDGs for mainstreaming and promoting mental health and human rights.  The paper demands greater political action from the EU to accelerate the delivery of commitments for sustainable development and mental health with just over 10 years to go. Key recommendations to the EU institutions include the need:

  • to adopt a European SDGs Implementation Strategy;
  • to mainstream SDGs into relevant EU policies;
  • to strengthen the social dimension of the EU;
  • to incorporate SDGs in the Multiannual Financial Framework and
  • to develop a European Mental Health Strategy that ensures intersectoral collaboration.


The paper will be of interest for policymakers and institutions, civil society organisations working to advance sustainable development, and anyone interested in mental health and human rights.

Read the reflection paper


Further information:


The SDG Summit convened back-to-back with another high-level meeting on universal health coverage (UHC) which took place under the auspices of the UN General Assembly. It put spotlight on Goal 3 on good health and well-being and resulted in the adoption of a Political declaration ‘Moving Together to Build a Healthier World’. In it, States reaffirmed commitment to achieving SDG target 3.8 on ensuring UHC by 2030 and the right of every human being to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The Declaration also strives to ensure that no one is left behind, especially the most vulnerable or stigmatizedgroups including persons with mental-ill health.

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