The European Commission has introduced a comprehensive approach to mental health as part of the European Health Union. This initiative aims to prioritize mental health at the same level as physical health and adopt a cross-sectoral approach to mental health issues. With a budget of €1.23 billion, the Commission plans to support Member States in prioritizing mental health and providing effective care and support.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health problems had already afflicted one in six individuals in the EU. The recent onslaught of crises, from the pandemic to the cost of living and climate crises, has only exacerbated this alarming situation. Recognizing the urgency, the European Commission’s initiative responds to fervent calls from the European Parliament and citizens engaged in the Conference on the Future of Europe. The economic and social toll of neglecting mental health is staggering, estimated at over 4% of GDP or a staggering €600 billion annually.

When presenting the new plan, Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety stated today that “there is no health without mental health and there can be no European Health Union without equal and timely access to prevention, treatment and care for our mental health. Today marks a new beginning for a comprehensive, prevention-oriented and multi-stakeholder approach to mental health at EU level. We need to break down stigma and discrimination so that those in need can reach out and receive the support they need. It is ok not to be ok, and it is our duty to ensure that everyone asking for help has access to it”.

In the new plan, the European Commission’s approach to mental health focuses on three principles: prevention, access to care, and reintegration. Concrete actions will cover a broad range of policies and include initiatives such as depression and suicide prevention, improved training for professionals, awareness campaigns in workplaces, protection of children and young people, targeted support for vulnerable groups, and international leadership in providing mental health support during humanitarian emergencies.

The European Commission’s comprehensive approach to mental health represents a crucial step in prioritizing mental well-being and providing support to those in need. By integrating mental health across policies and implementing targeted initiatives, the Commission aims to address the growing challenges and improve mental health outcomes for individuals and society as a whole.

Eurodiaconia members have been at the frontline, offering vital mental health care services to those facing dire circumstances. Their unwavering dedication has played a pivotal role in fostering strong and healthy communities. They have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of comprehensive mental health support. Eurodiaconia wholeheartedly recognizes the importance of the European Commission’s approach and eagerly looks forward to its development. With a firm belief in its transformative potential, Eurodiaconia is ready to actively contribute and play a crucial role in shaping the future of mental health care.

Read here the press release: