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Community action in the field of mental health

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Community action in the field of mental health

Mental health problems have a social, economic and structural impact on the welfare of the population as a whole. It is therefore necessary to provide information on mental health, promote its importance and pre-empt mental disorders through appropriate measures at Community level and in the Member States.


Council conclusions of 3 June 2005 on a Community action in the field of mental health [Not published in the Official Journal]


These conclusions are a follow-up to the Ministerial Conference of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on mental health, entitled "Facing the Challenges, Building Solutions", held in Helsinki from 12 to 15 January 2005.

They are based on a series of measures linked directly or indirectly with mental health, including the following:

Priority activities

The Ministerial Conference of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on mental health highlighted the need to implement, at Member State level, a plan of action in the area of mental health, focusing on improving the well-being and functioning of the people affected.

The Council underlines the need to accord greater importance to the social, economic and structural impact of mental health. To do this, synergies should be nurtured between the plan of action and the results of projects funded under the current and future Community programmes in the field of public health.

The general public's awareness of the importance of mental health issues and of the need to frame specific policies in this area should also be raised.

The Commission should be presenting, in the summer of 2005, a Green Paper on mental health, which will put forward information, promotion and prevention measures in this area.

Actions at Member State level

The Council calls on the Member States to:

  • focus on implementing the declaration and the plan of action adopted by the European Ministerial Conference of the WHO on mental health, while planning to devise appropriate measures over the long term;
  • take measures to collect reliable data on mental health and on the economic and social consequences of mental disorders;
  • adopt measures to implement holistic, integrated and effective mental health systems covering promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, care and social reintegration;
  • continue the development of monitoring and evaluation tools that facilitate comparisons of the status of mental health between the Member States and of promotion and prevention practices;
  • make the best possible use of the relevant funding instruments, such as the Structural Funds and the PHARE programme, in order to meet specific needs in the area of mental health.

Actions at Commission level

The Commission is called upon to:

  • support the implementation of the declaration and the plan of action adopted by the European Ministerial Conference of the World Health Organisation on mental health;
  • ensure that the impact analysis of relevant future Community legislation takes mental health aspects on board;
  • emphasise the close links between mental health and physical health, as well as the links between mental disorders and drug and alcohol abuse;
  • pay special attention to people at vulnerable stages of life (children, young people and older people, in particular).


Commission Green Paper of 14 October 2005 "Improving the mental health of the population. Towards a strategy on mental health for the European Union" [COM(2005) 484 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

With this Green Paper, the Commission is launching a wide debate on mental health. The idea is to hold a public consultation on how to improve the management of mental illness and promote mental well-being in the European Union. The Green Paper proposes three main action areas at EU level:

1. Creating a dialogue with Member States on mental health

2. Launching an EU platform on mental health

3. Building up mental health information resources at EU level.

Conclusions of the "Employment, social policy, health and consumer affairs" Council of 2 and 3 June 2003 on combating stigma and discrimination in relation to mental health. In these conclusions, the Council stresses the impact of the stigma surrounding and the discrimination associated with mental illness. The Council therefore calls for concrete actions to be taken in order to improve social inclusion and combat stigma and discrimination.

Council conclusions of 15 November 2001 on combating stress- and depression-related problems [Official Journal C 6 of 09.01.2002] In these conclusions, the Council calls for the implementation of actions to prevent stress and depression-related problems and to promote mental health.

Council Resolution of 18 November 1999 on the promotion of mental health [Official Journal C 86 of 24.03.2000]

Last updated: 05.01.2006