I am all for interdependence and collaboration, and take no pleasure in the prospect of the UK casting itself adrift from the European Union. With MSc students I have sometimes discussed global mental health, and policy in this area. This has included talking about work led by the EU. Derived from my teaching, here for information are some of the initiatives member states have taken together.
First is 2005’s Green Paper, Improving the mental health of the population: towards a strategy on mental health for the European Union. Green Papers stimulate discussion, and this one made its case for action with reference to the extent of mental health need across Europe, the cost to economies and the problem of social exclusion.
Next up is the European pact for mental health and wellbeing, which in 2008 presented five priorities against a background of rising rates of mental illness:
- Prevention of depression and suicide
- Mental health in youth and education
- Mental health in workplace settings
- Mental health of older people
- Combating stigma and social exclusion
The Joint action mental health and wellbeing from 2013 uses its funds to address these five areas:
- Depression, suicide and e-health
- Community-based approaches
- Mental health at workplaces
- Mental health and schools
- Mental health in all policies [which recognises how policy in non-health areas can have an effect on mental health]
- Preventing mental disorders, promoting mental health and focusing on young people
- Focusing on causal mechanisms of mental disorders
- Setting up international collaborations and networks for mental health research
- Developing and implementing new and better interventions for mental health and well-being
- Reducing stigma and empowering service users and carer
- Research into health and social systems
For a comprehensive list of Horizon 2020 and FP7 projects in the field of mental health, try following this link.
Leaving the EU will greatly diminish opportunities for people in the UK to cooperate with people in Europe to tackle our shared problems, of which mental ill-health and its associated stigma is most definitely one. On the research front, post-EU referendum some in UK universities are already reporting that their collaborations with academics in other EU member states are under threat. Suffice to say I wish the vote on June 23rd had gone the other way.Follow @benhannigan