EESC opinion: European Year of Mental Health

Key points

  • Mental health forms an integral part of quality of life and well-being for all people in the EU. It is the prerequisite for individuals being able to realise their intellectual and emotional potential. For society, it is a source of social cohesion and of better social well-being and economic prosperity. This initiative is geared towards improving mental health and the public's awareness of it.
  • Mental disorders can have various causes and consequences. Prevention, early recognition and treatment of mental illness must be based on a multidimensional approach (psychotherapy, as well as medical and socio-economic measures). Greater account must be taken of mental disorders and illnesses in the general education of health professionals, educators, teachers and people in executive positions. A publicly supported health promotion plan and a modern corporate culture can support people with disabilities and minimise the occurrence of work-related problems.
  • It is vital to strengthen civil, voluntary, family and professional networks and boost the participation of those affected and associations representing them. European recommendations and good practices should include an appropriate reduction of inpatient psychiatric treatment and medication in order to help build up socio-environmental support measures and other alternative forms of assistance. The resources this would generate for science and research could also be directed more towards maintaining mental health.
  • Raising broad public awareness of this issue should be promoted across the EU. Campaigns to destigmatise mental illness and the use of non-discriminatory language in the media could reduce discrimination. More questions should be asked about how inclusion can be promoted actively through the effective development of care systems geared towards the individual and through supporting families. Advances in medicine, professional and voluntary support as well as the business model on preventative health care must be given greater consideration and promoted more strongly.