EFPA welcomes the EPSCO Council Report: "Conclusions on mental health"

November 2023 - In a significant step forward for mental health policy, the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) has issued a report: "Conclusions on mental health" in which it endorses a range of important steps forward for European mental health.

The EPSCO Council brings together ministers responsible for employment, social affairs, health and consumer policy from all EU member states. Relevant European Commissioners also participate in meetings.

The report builds on the Commission's Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health which was announced last year 

following a stakeholder consultation process which EFPA actively engaged in alongside other stakeholder organisations.

The report recognises the importance of taking a psychosocial approach to mental health, calls on member states to prioritise integrated policies and services addressing mental health needs, and invites the Commission to play a facilitative role in synergising the work of member states.

This approach aligns closely with each of EFPA's 7 points on mental health advocacy, with each of the seven points featured in the recommendations: mental health commitment; societal crises response; community-oriented services; the workplace; climate change; training standards and regulation; and equality of access including the consideration of digitalisation Furthermore, the emphasis on integration of approaches is welcome, as it had been a key element of EFPA's feedback on policy developments over the past year.

The report follows a letter to the Minister of Health of Spain—Dr. José Manuel Miñones Conde—sent in July of 2023 during the Spanish European Presidency, regarding the then upcoming EPSCO meeting, focusing on improving mental health in the EU. EFPA was happy to join with the European Brain Council, the European College of Neuropharmacology, EUFAMI, the European Psychiatric Association, the Federation of Neuroscience Societies and GAMIAN Europe in this joint letter .

Of particular note is the EPSCO Council's recommendation to promote "initiatives to support mental health and communication campaigns in the EU through a European year of mental health, which should take place no later than 2029“. The European Year has been a longstanding request in the mental health advocacy work of EFPA and other associations, but until recently lacked a clear commitment and timeframe.

The report can be read in full here.