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On 16th May, a meeting of the Interest Group on Mental Health, Well-being and Brain Disorders addressing empowerment of patients affected by mental health conditions and their self-management of care and treatment will be held in the European Parliament from 11.00-13.00. On this occasion, a Call to Action on the topic above as developed by GAMIAN-Europe with input from a wide variety of (mental) health stakeholders will be launched.

Background to the Call to Action:

It is increasingly recognised that the burden and prevalence of mental health conditions is huge: 11% of the European population experience mental disorders every year. The proportion of the national health budget devoted to mental health ranges between 4% to 13% across the EU. Social and economic inequality and exclusion are both a cause and a consequence of mental ill health.

These conditions go hand in hand with substantial stigma, costs and consequences that impact individuals, families and carers, health and social systems, society and the economy. As a consequence, there is an obvious need to address mental health conditions in the most effective way. Empowered patients, managing their own care and treatment, can support this need in many ways.

However, while the notion of and need for patient empowerment has been increasingly accepted when it comes to patients affected by physical health conditions, this is not the case for those affected by mental health problems; many individuals and organisations have highlighted the disempowering attitudes and behaviours towards people with mental illness which exist in society. The stigma attached to having a mental health issue – as opposed to having a physical health issue –  is pervasive and widespread.

Many people with physical health problems already self-manage their care and treatment and are seen as competent and capable to do so. However, when it comes to mental health, the competence of patients to self-manage their treatment and care is usually viewed as doubtful. However, most people with mental health problems, most of the time, do have the competence to self-manage their treatment and care.

This Call to Action therefore highlights what can be done to empower patients and to engage them as partners in care.  It underlines that patients should be seen as resource in this respect; and empowering patients will ensure the best possible ‘use’ of that resource, while putting patients at the heart of care provision.

The objectives of the meeting are:

  • To be informed of the importance of empowered patients, who play and active role in the management of their care and treatment
  • To present and discuss the draft Call to Action on this topic
  • To hear the views of EU-level policy makers and relevant mental health stakeholders on this topic as well as their recommendations for action;
  • To have an open discussion on how this topic can be further advanced at EU level.


If you are interested in participating, please register by sending an e-mail to secretariat@gamian.eu with your details before 9th May. If you require an access badge to the European Parliament, we kindly ask you to provide us with the following details:

  • Full name
  • Nationality
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Document type
  • ID card/Passport number


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