EFPA responds to President von der Leyen’s September 2023 State of the Union address

On 13 September 2023 in Strasbourg European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered a State of the Union address which highlighted some of the European Commission's current priorities (1).

The address featured a number of themes including a strong emphasis on the need to address climate change, the importance of providing support in relation to the war in Ukraine and the need to be mindful of the effects of Artificial Intelligence on European society.

These themes align with much of EFPA’s 7 points of action in relation to mental health (2), specifically societal crises response, climate change and the consideration of digitalisation with regard to equality of access (to mental health supports).

This emphasis is welcome, however EFPA urges the European Commission also to continue to talk about its focus on the topic of mental health as a central priority. Gladly there is action in this area in the form of the Commission’s New Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health initiative (3) and the Mental Health in All Policies stakeholder network (4).

However, as 1 in 6 people in Europe are affected by mental health-related challenges (5), it remains a priority to keep this topic in central focus and to take an integrative as well as comprehensive approach to ensure that the many stakeholders in this space, including those with direct experience, are given the platform they deserve. Open and regular communication is also key to normalising this often hidden aspect of human lives.

EFPA will continue to collaborate with the Commission and participate in the above initiatives to support the development of policy that creates meaningful action throughout the European Union and beyond.


1 - 2023 State of the Union Address by President von der Leyen https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/ov/speech_23_4426

2 - Considering ‘A New EU Approach To Mental Health’—EFPA responds to the European Commission's statement on the EU’s Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health -  https://www.efpa.eu/considering-new-eu-approach-mental-healthefpa-responds-european-commissions-statement-eus

3 - A comprehensive approach to mental health—Communication from the Commission, European Commission https://health.ec.europa.eu/publications/comprehensive-approach-mental-health_en

4 - Mental Health in all Policies Stakeholders Network https://www.mhe-sme.org/join-the-mental-health-in-all-policies-stakeholders-network/

5 - European Health Union: a new comprehensive approach to mental health https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/%20en/ip_23_3050