The COVID-19 crisis has magnified the importance of mental health in Europe. The pandemic has had a severe impact on the mental health of Europeans and disrupted services across borders. It also triggered renewed debates about the inclusion of mental health in all policies and the need for a European Mental Health Strategy. EU policy- and decision-makers should use the current momentum for mental health to push for mental healthcare reforms on a European level. We all have mental health. It is just as important as our physical health and a fundamental human right of every European. It is high time to reflect this in policies and our everyday life. With strong and committed new leadership, the Coalition for Mental Health and Wellbeing will strive to make a lasting change across the health and social EU policies to achieve a positive impact on the mental health of millions of Europeans.
“I believe mental health is a human right, and we should grant everybody in Europe the access to mental healthcare, better services and better mental health policies. Supporting the wellbeing of people is in all of our benefit, also economically,“ said Alviina Alametsä from the Greens, co-chair of the Coalition.
“We cannot dissociate the physical health from mental health if we want to achieve the full status of health and wellbeing. As co-chair, and together with my colleagues, we will be able to have a stronger voice and bring more awareness to mental health in the European Parliament, and how to protect and improve it and also how to prevent mental illness. Mental health is an investment, not only in people, but also in all sectors of society,” said Sara Cerdas from S&D, co-chair of the MHEP Coalition.
“It’s time the European Union starts to talk about a unified approach to mental health and wellbeing. I will be working alongside Mental Health Europe, the other co-chairs and all members to bring mental health to the forefront of the agenda, also when discussing a European Health Union. Around 84 million people in the European Union experience various mental health conditions, proving that this topic affects each and every one of us. Some are our family members, our neighbours or our co-workers, at times even ourselves. Mental health policy is something that affects everyone. Mental health issues are also prevalent among minorities, among which LGBTIQ persons are susceptible to mental health problems due to a range of factors, including self-acceptance, acceptance by others, discrimination and inequalities. Transgender persons have some of the highest suicide rates in the world, especially in situations where their gender identity is not recognised by their state. As co-chair of this Coalition, my personal goal will be to ensure that no one is left behind,“ said Cyrus Engerer from S&D, co-chair of the Coalition for Mental Health and Wellbeing in the European Parliament.
“One of the main objectives in this parliamentary term is the realisation of a comprehensive European Mental Health Strategy. Such a strategy is needed today, more than ever before. We should also strive for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the European Union to become a reality in the European Union. We must work to fully respect and protect the human rights of people with disabilities and mental health problems. It is very important that Renew Europe is represented and participates in this Coalition which has been actively working for mental health since 2012. For these reasons, I am very excited to become a member of the Coalition. The challenge is here, among us. We need to tackle it through comprehensive support while fighting mental health discrimination and stigma, which is sadly still a reality in Europe,“ added MEP Soraya Rodriguez from Renew Europe Group, co-chair of MHEP Coalition.
“Mental health is a field where Europe can do more to help and empower citizens with mental health issues. Even if the European Union takes mental health seriously and recognises the benefit of quality psychological care one should not forget that patient access to this care differs greatly from one Member State to another. I want the EU to lead the fight to make mental health care essential and accessible for every European. This should be part of the reflection around the EU policy action for health and its new desire to build an EU4Health. It is essential for the wellbeing of patients and everybody else,” stated MEP Tilly Metz from the Greens, co-chair of MHEP Coalition.
“I believe mental health should be a competency of the European Union. Collectively, we need to stop the stigma attached to mental health, in our homes, in our communities and in our businesses. As an Employment and Social Affairs Committee member in the European Parliament, I am working for mental health days to be included in all our businesses, both large and small. It is important we work with member states so that mental health is incorporated into all policies. Our citizens mental health is essential to ensure a strong, equal and inclusive Europe. I am working with colleagues from across the Parliament and European organisations, to deliver a European Year of Good Mental Health. This EU Year will highlight and share good practices, support citizens in our communities and encourage each of us to lift stigma attached to mental health. We need to make mental health everyone’s business,” concluded MEP Maria Walsh from EPP, co-chair of the Coalition.