Mental health: a higher priority for the EUComments Off on Mental health: a higher priority for the EU

On the occasion of the WHO European Ministerial Conference in Helsinki, Markos Kyprianou, European Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner, called for mental health to be given a higher political priority in Europe: “Promoting mental health, preventing and tackling mental illness are central to the wellbeing of our citizens”.

According to the European Commission, around 58,000 people in the EU die each year as a result of suicide or self inflicted injury. This compares with around 50,700 deaths per year as a result of motor vehicle traffic accidents and around 5,350 as a result of murder or homicide.

The European Commission has been a key partner in the WHO European Ministerial Conference on Mental Health – held in Helsinki on 12-15 January 2005 -. At the Conference, representatives of Member States discussed the status of mental health in the WHO European Region and agreed on a declaration and action plan with measures for improvement.

Mr. Kyprianou said: “We support the priorities in this Declaration. Now we must translate this declaration into action. I outlined to you this morning the action that the Commission intends to take in the coming months to implement the actions outlined in this declaration, and I assure you today of my commitment, and the commitment of the European Commission, to the issue of mental health.”

He also said: “Perhaps this is an issue which the Luxembourg Presidency could put on the agenda of European Union Health Ministers for discussion at our next Health Council in March. So it is with great satisfaction that I endorse this Declaration on behalf of the European Commission.”

The Commission is preparing an EU strategy on promoting good mental health. Results from EU funded projects, the conclusions of the Helsinki conference and earlier EU political discussions on mental health will feed into this Strategy The Commission hopes to launch a consultation on the issue towards the middle of this year.

More information:

WHO European Ministerial Conference on Mental Health

Speech by Mr Kyprianou at the Helisnki Conference

EU projects and reports on mental health