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European Commission Representation in Cyprus
News article13 May 2024Representation in Cyprus2 min read

Statement by Commissioner Kyriakides to mark European Mental Health Week

Read the full statement by Commissioner Kyriakides to mark European Mental Health Week, 13-19 May 2024. 

“Mental health and physical health are equally important components of overall health. This is a key principle underpinning our comprehensive approach to mental health, launched in June 2023. The European Mental Health Week is a good opportunity to reflect on where we stand with this approach and what we delivered.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, climate change, rising energy costs and economic hardships have had long-term consequences on people's mental health. This is a particular concern for vulnerable groups such as children, the young, the elderly and those with pre-existing mental health challenges. In 2022, more than 1 in 2 people were considered at risk of depression across the EU. Mental distress also comes at a high financial cost, it represents no less than 4% of GDP.

Our comprehensive approach to mental health aims to break the stigma around mental health and make a positive difference to every citizen. To ensure good mental health, we promote early interventions and timely support whenever needed, whilst also increasing understanding and acceptance. We work hand-in-hand with national authorities to develop EU guidance on stigma and discrimination that will be put forward later this year. We have also published a repository of best and promising practices on the EU Best Practice Portal to inspire and encourage learning from one another.

But, ensuring that people have the support they need, also requires important investments at EU and national level. Complementing other actions, I am happy to announce today that we have committed €11 million from the EU4Health programme for a new action to identify gaps and build capacity, together with WHO/Europe. To steer investments, WHO will soon publish a report on national needs, challenges and obstacles, which will inform national policy dialogues and capacity-building for EU countries.

We are also aware of the significant pressures on the health workforce. To address this, we have launched a new €9 million EU-PROMENS project, including a multidisciplinary training programme for healthcare and other professionals such as teachers, social workers and those working in prisons and juvenile detention centres. Around 120 professionals from 30 countries, including Ukraine, will be trained to support a truly comprehensive approach to mental health. We are also making available a further €10 million to support the mental health of vulnerable groups, such as children and refugees.

A new comprehensive tracking framework allows better monitoring of the progress and delivery of initiatives under the Communication and its implementation by Member States.

In line with this year's theme for the European Mental Health Week, I want to stress the added value of breaking down silos and fostering true collaboration. Everyone involved should come together to work on better mental health for all. Cooperation is the essential characteristic of our strong European Health Union – necessary for both mental and physical health.

Let us therefore, during this European Mental Health Week, recognise the important steps that we have already taken together and direct our efforts towards the important work that is still waiting for us.”

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Publication date
13 May 2024
Representation in Cyprus