EuroHealthNet welcomes the European Commission’s efforts toward the upcoming EU Mental Health approach and this call for evidence. We agree with its rationale, i.e. the need to urgently address the burden of mental health disorders and promote good psychosocial wellbeing, which was already evident and well-documented pre-crises. EuroHealthNet agree with the assumption made that due to the syndemic-pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the climate emergency, and now the rising cost of living crisis (‘the polycrisis’), the figures of 1 in 6 EU citizens, accounting for 4% mortality and 4% GDP are almost certainly an underestimation.
In order to mitigate further devastating impacts of the polycrisis on mental health and psychosocial wellbeing, and to urgently address gaps in access and timely support to mental health, having a vision and updating existing repositories of good practice (which we understand this comprehensive approach will offer) is a good first step. However, a fully-fledged Strategy would be of much stronger impact both practically and politically.
EuroHealthNet calls on the European Commission to develop and launch an EU-wide strategy that:
- First and foremost, takes a human-rights based approach to (mental) health, moving away from considering the benefits of investing in mental health and wellbeing from an economic perspective alone, and in doing so rooting the benefits of proposed actions in the emerging Economy of Wellbeing approach,
- Promotes a psychosocial holistic model of mental health as an outcome shaped by social, psychological and biological factors, taking into account the systematic and structural socioeconomic and environmental determinants of health,
- Takes a life-course and proportionate universalism approach to health, with a strong prevention-oriented focus,
- Mainstreams mental health across all EU policies and governance levels, while recommending Member States to follow by implementing instruments to monitor progress – and does so in alignment with EU level processes (e.g., European Semester), targets (e.g., Social Scoreboard), funds (e.g., Recovery and Resilience Funds, Multi- annual Financial Frameworks), and tools (e.g., the European Pillar of Social Rights),
- Builds multi-stakeholder capacity and inclusive participation into the implementation of the initiative.