Mental Health Europe (MHE) has called for parity of esteem between physical and mental health, with the aim of making mental health services truly universal.
Universal health coverage remains one of the biggest challenges Europe faces and is the focus of this year’s World Health Day. To this end, MHE wants mental health services to be affordable and accessible to all.
Nigel Henderson, president of Mental Health Europe, said: “Because of the stigma associated with mental ill health, a general lack of understanding about mental health and poor financial investment in services, community-based and recovery-oriented mental health care remains the exception rather than the rule in many parts of Europe.”
A key public health issue
Achieving universal mental health care is a key public health issue. Those suffering from mental health issues face barriers and discrimination within the healthcare system, which often results in poorer physical health.
Life expectancy for those living with severe mental health problems is lower by 10-25 years due to their physical ill health.
Henderson adds: “The situation can be addressed through integrated health and care services and community support for people living with mental ill health.”
The future of health policy
To ensure the European Union and member states respect their commitment to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, including Goal Number 3 which seeks to ensure ‘healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages’, realising health for all is necessary.
Delivering on this commitment should be a priority for the EU.
The concern for Mental Health Europe is that the future of health policy in Europe is threatened. They said that the EU must act on health and mental health through strong political leadership coming from the European Commission.
MHE has called for the EU and member states to ensure that the next European budget and the formation of the new commission will reflect the commitments made through the adoption of the SDG agenda.