What is the EU’s new mental health strategy? 

Mental health issues have become more common in recent years, with this trend accelerating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite efforts to prevent it, this has hit children and young people the hardest. 

A new report suggests that, after multiple lockdowns in Europe, 20-25% of young people now face mental health problems, compared with 10-20% before the pandemic. 

In light of this report, which was voted through the European Parliament in September, a new strategy for mental health is now on next year’s agenda. 

The strategy was first announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and is planned for the second quarter of 2023. It will include key initiatives on mental health. Some of the details have already been announced, but the strategy hasn’t been finalised. 

During a plenary debate on mental health earlier this month, Commissioner Stella Kyriakides noted that work was already underway to develop the EU’s mental health strategy. 

She said: “First of all, we need to improve our understanding of mental health issues and prioritise prevention and promotion of better mental health. We have to improve access to mental health care, one of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights. 

We need commitment from all actors throughout our societies in research, employment, and media. We need to show how business, sport, and education can constructively contribute. We need to work with all member states, NGOs, healthcare professionals, and Parliament.” 

Although no other specific information was given, it was also revealed that the EU4health programme has received over 28 million euros in funding in the last three years and that some countries have focused on mental health through the Resilience and Recovery Facility. 

However, the commissioner pointed out that society still needs to pay more attention to the issue, which is impacted by a multitude of factors in people’s everyday lives. 

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