In a meeting of the MEP Alliance for Mental Health, held on 10 November, representatives of mental health-related organisations and MEPs underlined the need and voiced their support for a dedicated European Year for Mental Health, to be instigated in the short term.
Background to this event, organised by GAMIAN-Europe, is the general and pressing need to ensure awareness – with policymakers, service providers, the general public – of the importance of mental health in all its aspects, ranging from prevention, to diagnosis, treatment, care and cure.
Maria Walsh MEP, co-chair of the MEP Alliance for Mental Health already referred to need for (and potential of) such a Year in October 2019; speaking in today’s meeting, the stated that ‘now is the right time to launch a strong campaign in order to turn this idea into reality: due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, never before has there been such a concern about mental health and well-being of the population’.
The meeting brought together a small group of relevant organisations to have a first discussion on the potential aims, content and strands of action of a European Year for Mental Health. Discussions also took place on the actions which should be taken to best advocate to ensure that such a Year will become a reality as well as the potential roles of the various participating organisations can play in this campaign.
MEPs Alviina Alametsa, Estrella Dura Ferrandis, Radka Maxova, Alex Agius Saliba, Tomas Zdechovsky, Stelios Kympouropoulos, Brando Bennifei and Katalin Cseh all welcomed the initiative to campaign for a Year and explicitly their support and commitment to ensuring that it becomes a reality.
The results of today’s discussion will now serve to prepare a preliminary outline of aims, potential themes, activities and structure of a European Year for Mental Health as well as of an advocacy plan, both of which will then be discussed in a larger meeting of the MEP Alliance early next year, also involving stakeholders outside the field of mental health.