14 December 2022

Updates on the Mental Health initiative following our meetings with the European Commission


The last two weeks have been busy for Mental Health Europe (MHE) with meetings taking place with EU Commissioners Stella Kyriakides, Helena Dalli and the Cabinet of Vice-President Dubravka Šuica. These meetings focused on discussions about the mental health initiative first announced by President Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the European Union (SOTEU) speech on 14 September 2022.


The two Commissioners and Vice-President Šuica’s Cabinet expressed that we have a unique opportunity to bring positive change for citizens and shared their commitment to bring this initiative forward.  MHE stressed that to achieve the positive change much needed in the field of mental health, this new initiative will need to bring together all key stakeholders, including civil society, representatives of people with lived experience and their supporters, and advocates in the field. The path forward requires an intersectoral approach and the collaboration of various Directorates-General (DGs), which seems to be the Commission’s plan.  The initiative will take the form of a communication coordinated by the Cabinet of Vice-President Šuica and it will be published by the end of summer 2023.


MHE is delighted that this new initiative will take a ‘Mental Health in All Policies’ approach. This approach is about how the policies of different sectors can have an impact on mental health. To achieve synergies, we need to identify, evaluate, and share best practices on how to take mental health and wellbeing into account in policymaking processes. During each meeting, MHE stressed the importance of ensuring that adequate budget and timelines are part of the initiative. Moreover, MHE recommended to take a person-centred approach that recognizes mental health as a continuum through the life-course, which is also advised by the World Health Organization. In addition, MHE also discussed in detail the relevance of the co-creationapproach as the effective methodology to implement the initiative.


Finally, MHE discussed with Commissioner Kyriakides and her cabinet about the  call for evidence to which stakeholders will be invited to respond as part of the 2023 EU4Health work programme.  This call for evidence will likely be launched before end of the year or in early 2023.  MHE will facilitate contributions from members and relevant stakeholders.  The goal of this exercise is to gather information to have a comprehensive overview of priority areas from Member States and stakeholders.


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