Mental disorders are one of the greatest public health challenges in terms of prevalence, burden of disease and disability and they cause major burden to economies, demanding policy action. More than one in six people across EU countries had a mental health issue in 2016, equivalent to about 84 million people. Moreover, in 2016, 165,000 deaths were attributed to mental and behavioural disorders, including self-harm, in EU.The burden of mental illness in the European WHO region is estimated to account for 14.4% of years lived with disability (YLDs) and 5.8% of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), placing thus mental illness as the second biggest contributor to YLDs after musculoskeletal disorders and as fourth in terms of DALYs in the WHO European region. Total costs pertaining to ill mental health have been gauged at more than 4% of GDP- or over 600 billion- across EU in 2015.
Many European countries have in place policies and programmes to address mental illness at different ages. Nevertheless, much more can be done to manage and promote mental health. Delivery of MH care services takes various forms across EU. Some countries still rely on big psychiatric hospitals, while others are delivering the care for MH mostly in community settings.This need for prioritizing mental health becomes more imperative, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Converging evidence substantiate emerging mental health needs and difficulties faced by the mental health care systems to tackle them.
Building upon 15+ years of EU efforts including the Joint Action for Mental Health and Well-being the European Framework for Action and the EU Compass, the Members of the SGPP have selected two best practices (i) the Mental health reform in Belgium and (ii) Suicide prevention form Austria to be implemented during the new Joint Action on mental health, with an aim to extend the benefits of these best practices to participating countries.