The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission launches a section on mental health on its Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Knowledge Gateway, during the week of the Mental Health Awareness.
The concept of Health goes well beyond an individual’s physical well-being, as it must encompass mental and social well-being. The promotion of mental health and the prevention of mental health issues are pressing public health priorities that have been further exasperated by COVID-19.
The first topic addressed in this new section is prevention of depression and of work-related stress.
More than 50% of Europeans consider work-related stress as their main health and safety risk at the work place.
Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the EU. In 2014, almost 7% of the EU population over 15 years of age reported suffering from depression.
The Gateway lists various factors that are associated with the risk of depression and work-related stress. Examples include socioeconomic determinants such as income, employment status, job insecurity or being part of vulnerable population groups.
The Knowledge Gateway provides examples of strategies and policies that can help prevent poor mental health. These include, among others, the implementation of strategies for early detection of depression, better access to mental health services and mental health interventions at the workplace.
Workplace strategies, including flexible working patterns and the implementation of mental health programs, can also be of great assistance in promoting and safeguarding mental well-being.
Depression: A leading cause of disability
Depression is among the leading causes for disability in the EU. Cumulatively, more than 3 million years are lived with disability, a measure reflecting the impact an illness has on quality of life before it resolves or leads to death, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2019 Study.
Moreover, the cost of depression corresponds to 1% of the total European Gross Domestic Product.
The Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Knowledge Gateway will further expand its content on mental health to include information on the prevention of depression in children and adolescents, as well as on the prevention of dementia.
Through the 3rd Health Programme, the Commission will co-fund a Joint Action on Mental Health with a budget of 5 million Euro to implement two selected best practices: a mental health system reform that focuses on strengthening patient-centred community-based services, and a multi-level national suicide prevention programme. The specific needs of children and adolescents will be taken into account in this endeavour.
To best support Member States and to make the best use of available resources, the Commission will continue to encourage the exchange of knowledge and practices and is exploring options to support the implementation of promising practices. Member States are also invited to visit the EU portal for best practices for the promotion of mental well-being.
In May 2020, a special call under Horizon Europe 2020 was launched to address the most pressing needs as regards COVID-19. One of these projects RESPOND aims to understand the behavioural and socio-economic impact of the pandemic.
In parallel, the Commission is organizing a one-day, virtual event during the European Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 to highlight the mental health impact of Covid-19.
Knoweldge Service: Health Promotion Knowledge Gateway
- Publication date
- 10 May 2021