19 October 2022

MHE welcomes the European Parliament’s commitment to mental health and the call for a European Strategy


During her State of the Union address, Commissioner von der Leyen announced the intention to work on a mental health initiative as a result of the Conference on the Future of Europe. After a month from this much anticipated announcement, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) gathered in Strasbourg on 18 October 2022 to hold a debate on the topic, which included an exchange with Commissioner Kyriakides, as representative from the European Commission, and Ivan Bartoš, speaking on behalf of the Council of the European Union and its Czech Presidency. 


Commissioner Kyriakides stressed the need to address mental health in a comprehensive way, at home, at school, at work and in the health system. She emphasized that investing in mental health is an investment in our people, our economies and our societies.  


Among the many MEPs that took the floor during the debate, many openly called for the need of a European Mental Health Strategy to ensure long-term, comprehensive and coordinated action on the topic. As some MEPs suggested, in order to be effective, this Strategy should include robust governance, legislative initiatives (e.g. in the field of mental health at work) and appropriate financing. MEPs also spoke about the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis have had and are having on the mental well-being of individuals and about the fact that certain groups (e.g. young and older people, LGBTQ+ community) are more at risk of mental ill-health and marginalisation. 


Mental Health Europe (MHE) welcomes the commitment to mental health that the European Parliament and the Coalition for mental Health and Wellbeing has shown over the years and the support of many MEPs from different geographical constituencies and political parties calling for a European Strategy. 


MHE – with the support of the members from the Mental Health Advocacy Platform – has been advocating for a long-term Mental Health Strategy well before these developments at EU level. We call for an EU initiative on mental health to: 

  • Take a psychosocial approach to address intersectionality and the socio-economic determinants of mental health; 
  • Ensure meaningful involvement and cooperation with people with lived experience of mental health problems and civil society organisations; 
  • Foresee the inclusion of mental health in all policies and consider the impacts of different policies on mental health; 
  • Promote non-coercive, rights-based and person-centred mental health services and care, de-institutionalisation and the respect for legal capacity as required of the EU as a State Party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD); 
  • Aid in the development of complementary action plans at national level; 
  • Include comprehensive objectives with clear benchmarks and indicators, as well as an adequate budget allocated for its implementation. 


As EU institutions begin the process to launch the initiative next summer, MHE has already taken steps to make the above-mentioned recommendations a reality. We will continue to collaborate with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to provide our expertise and ensure an ambitious and comprehensive initiative that can concretely and effectively answer urgent needs in these turbulent times. 

Stay connected

Get our latest news, personal stories, research articles, and job opportunities.