On 13th July, the meeting of the Interest Group on mental health, well-being and brain disorders, co-organized by EBC and GAMIAN-Europe, has taken place in the European Parliament, co-chaired by the MEPs Marian Harkin and Nessa Childers.

EBC’s executive director, Frédéric Destrebecq, has presented the main activities and projects of the European Brain Council, namely the Value of Treatment (VoT) project and the release of the Consensus Document, and has devoted particular attention to the Call to Action for national brain plans and for a European brain plan. He has also brought attention on EFNA’s campaign “Together Under The Umbrella”.

Mrs. Herta Adam, from the European Commission DG Santé, has highlighted mental health and brain disorders in the context of the chronic diseases approach. In particular, she has presented the Commission’s “EU Compass”, an instrument aimed at disseminating recommendations to partners and stakeholders and at disseminating good practices.

MEP Marek Plura has driven the attention on the Polish Brain Plan, structured in order to offer a strategy to both patients and their families, and has highlighted the position of the Polish Brain Council about it. He has called for strategic action at the European as well as member states level in order to increase research and provide better care for brain diseases.

Raluca Nica, from GAMIAN-Europe, has talked about the need to secure the implementation of the recommendations of the Joint Action on mental health and well-being. As good mental health and well-being are key factors for social cohesion, economic progress and a sustainable development in the EU, it is particularly striking that at least 30% of people with severe mental disorders do not have access to mental health care. Therefore, she stressed the urgent need for action to address and ensure mental health and well-being through an EU Action Plan.

Finally, Mark Hermans, from UEMS, brought the health professionals’ perspective in the discussion and stressed how recruitment of mental health professional is difficult, given that they are often stigmatized as much as patients. Therefore he reminded the need to end stigmatization and to promote mental health education for everybody.