Mental health in all policies

The Joint Action working party is collaborating with the EU Consumers, Health and Food Executive Agency and the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health to organise a major conference in Helsinki, Finland, 11-12 May 2015, on the topic of “Mental Health in All Policies – Supporting sustainability and growth in Europe”. The thematic focus of the conference will be on mental health related issues over the life-span, providing good examples for cross-sectional collaboration in decision making and making the case for investment in mental health. This invitation-only conference will target 150 decision makers, experts and other relevant stakeholders across government sectors on national, regional and local level. The conference will also build on a strong representation of relevant NGOs.

In November 2014, the JA working party on mental health in all policies presented suggestions for actions at the European Commission mental health interservice meeting in Brussels. The EC agencies were invited by the working party representatives to make mental wellbeing impact assessment and monitoring a routinely performed part of human impact assessments. Furthermore, the WP representatives proposed a European level youth guarantee (as introduced in e.g. Portugal, Finland) to support social inclusion and coherence, prevent youth radical fundamentalism and strengthen mental wellbeing. Also coherent and inclusive policy actions to provide early parenting and family support (as introduced in e.g. Austria) were suggested, recognising the specific importance of early years development for future mental wellbeing by involvement of health, family and social sector. Finally, a reduction of mental health inequalities by action on mental health determinants to shift emphasis towards promoting mental wellbeing and preventing common mental disorders was suggested as a priority for cross-service actions. Such policy actions will include actions to reduce poverty, increase access to affordable public transport, restrict access to alcohol and reduce exposure to alcohol marketing will improve mental wellbeing.