European Commission allocates $1.3 billion to tackle ‘silent epidemic’ of mental health

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission said on Wednesday it would allocate 1.23 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to mental health initiatives across the 27-member European Union and make mental health a pillar of health policy.

“Today marks a new start for a comprehensive, prevention-focused and multi-stakeholder approach to mental health at EU level,” Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said in a statement. .

“We need to eliminate stigma and discrimination so that those in need can reach out and receive the support they need. It’s okay not to be well, and it’s our duty to ensure that everyone who asks for help has access to it.”

The Commission said mental health problems already affected around 84 million people before the COVID-19 pandemic with an economic cost of around 600 billion euros a year, or 4% of the bloc’s GDP.

The situation has deteriorated since the pandemic with the war in Ukraine, anxiety over climate change and the rising cost of living due to soaring inflation.

At a press conference, Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas called it a “silent epidemic” and said the issue was the last piece in the European Union’s “puzzle” of health.

EU action will focus on adequate and effective prevention, access to high quality and affordable mental health care and treatment, and reintegration into society after recovery.

Among its initiatives, the EU will strengthen the protection of children, including against the impact of social media, carry out campaigns for mental health in the workplace, launch a European initiative on the prevention of depression and suicide, create a European Mental Health Code and provide targeted support to older people, migrants and refugee populations.

($1 = 0.9351 euros)

(Reporting by Julia Payne; Editing by Mark Potter)

Leave a Comment