European Commission invests 1.23 billion euros in mental health

The European Commission is allocating 1.23 billion euros for a new strategy to combat mental health problems. It presented 20 initiatives on Wednesday to step up the fight against "a silent European epidemic".

While mental health is primarily a member state competence, the Commission has identified initiatives that it believes can add value, for which funding will be allocated from various European budgets.

These include an initiative to prevent depression and suicide, and a mental health network for young people. The Commission also wants to release funds for training and exchange programmes for professionals and brain health research. Initiatives to protect young people on social media and wellbeing at work are also on the agenda.

Mental wellbeing in Europe is under severe pressure. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, one in six people in the EU struggled with mental health problems. These not only put a strain on health systems but are also detrimental to employment and economic productivity. The Commission estimates that the cost of not intervening could reach 600 billion euros a year.

"This should not be seen as a silver European bullet. There is no happiness button, and not in Brussels," Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas said. "This initiative is the beginning of a journey. It puts mental health on par with physical health. And it sets high ambitions for the EU to help the most fragile and vulnerable in our societies."



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