GAMIAN-Europe calls for concrete action to empower those affected by mental ill health

Empowering people affected by mental ill health is beneficial to individuals and their carers. It is also crucial for developing more patient centered, efficient and cost-effective health systems.

This is the key message of a comprehensive Call to Action launched by GAMIAN-Europe today.
The Call, developed with the direct input from a variety of leading EU-level and national (mental) health stakeholders, addresses what can be undertaken concretely to overcome the current pervasive disempowering attitudes and behaviours towards people affected by mental ill health.

GAMIAN-Europe, a patient-driven organisation advocating the rights of those affected by mental ill health, developed this Call as one of its priorities as the huge prevalence and impact of mental health conditions cannot be overlooked: 11 % of the European population experience mental disorders every year. The proportion of national health budgets devoted to mental health ranges between 4% to 13% across the EU.

Mental health conditions go hand in hand with substantial costs and consequences impacting on individuals, families and carers, health and social systems, the economy and society as a whole. As a consequence, there is an obvious need to address these conditions in the most effective and appropriate way. Empowered patients, managing their own care and treatment, can help address this need.

While the notion of and need for patient empowerment has gained ground for physical health conditions in recent years, this is not generally the case for those affected by mental ill health. Likewise, when it comes to physical health, patients are generally viewed as sufficiently competent to self-manage their treatment and care – as opposed to those affected by mental health problems. The Call therefore underlines that most people with mental ill health, most of the time, do have the competence to self-manage their treatment and care.

Clearly, perceptions and services should be changed to reflect the need for more empowerment and patient involvement in the field of mental health. The Call to Action urges the various different categories of stakeholders involved to take appropriate action to effect progress in their specific areas of expertise.

The Call to Action has already been endorsed by some 25 EU-level and national (mental) health-related organisations as well as by a number of MEPs. GAMIAN-Europe is now warmly inviting all interested organisations to also endorse the Call, as widespread support for its principles and recommendations will stimulate and facilitate implementation across the EU.

The Call to Action is available here:

Introduction of the Call and list of endorsers:

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Prospect Plus Programme – Press Release

Leuven, 31st October 2019

On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, the European Federation of Families of People Affected by Mental Ill Health (EUFAMI) is pleased to announce the launch of a new partnership with the Janssen EMEA Fund (Johnson & Johnson Foundation) which will enable EUFAMI to work with its members in updating its Prospect peer to peer Training Programme.

The updated programme, to be relaunched as PROSPECT PLUS, will be used to train facilitators who will then be able to implement the training programme at national level. PROSPECT PLUS aims to provide families and friends with much-needed tools to enable them to gain confidence, improve their coping skills, regain control and improve their quality of life. As was the case with the original Prospect Training programme, PROSPECT PLUS will be subject to ongoing qualitative and quantitative evaluation.

EUFAMI President, Miia Männikkö, welcomed the new partnership saying “The PROSPECT Training programme is of key importance to families and family carers. For many years now EUFAMI has hoped to be able to bring the PROSPECT content and materials up to date, and to include new and innovative components so it can be a state-of-the-art educational programme. This will benefit many families and family carers around the world. EUFAMI is excited to be launching this new partnership with the Janssen EMEA Fund (Johnson & Johnson Foundation), and excited to be able to start work on PROSPECT PLUS”.

Representing the Janssen EMEA Fund, Antonio Delgado, said “Through the Janssen EMEA Fund, managed by the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, we develop initiatives and partnerships to strengthen health systems by supporting and championing the people on the frontlines who are at the heart of delivering care. Mental Health disorders are the leading cause of disability in the world and family members are the primary caregivers of persons with mental illness. We need a comprehensive and coordinated response to managing mental health in community-based settings and family carers must be recognized and supported to improve long-term care patients’ health outcomes. I am proud that we are now building on Johnson & Johnson’s 60 year legacy of innovation in Mental Health and working collaboratively with EUFAMI to support family caregivers in Mental Health”.

EUFAMI was founded in 1992 after a congress, which took place in 1990 in De Haan, Belgium, where carers from all over Europe shared their experiences of helplessness and frustration when living with severe mental illness. They resolved to work together to help both themselves and the people they cared for.
EUFAMI is a democratic organisation, registered in Belgium as an international non-profit organisation. We have an ongoing commitment to improving care and welfare for people affected by mental ill health. We also enable our member organisations to act jointly at a European Level, combining their efforts and sharing experience.
For more information please visit

About the Janssen EMEA Fund and the Johnson & Johnson Foundation
The Janssen EMEA Fund represents Janssen’s commitment to work with the Johnson & Johnson Foundation to support Innovative solutions that improve health and well-being in underserved communities. The Johnson & Johnson Foundation supports and champions the people on the front lines who are at the heart of delivering care. Together with our partners, we focus on building and strengthening a robust primary care health workforce – made up of capable, confident and resilient nurses, midwives and community health workers (CHWs) – so that they can provide quality care to the communities they serve.
About Prospect and PROSPECT Plus
Prospect is an innovative European training initiative which opens up fresh perspectives for individuals with direct experience of mental ill health, whether it be people with self-experience, their family and friends or health and social care professionals.
The initiative has produced three training programmes for participants belonging to each of the above groups, and a Common Ground Module for participants from all three groups.
Prospect is a project developed by the European Federation of Associations of Families of People with Mental Illness (EUFAMI) which was initially brought together with the input from sixteen partner organisations and representatives of people with mental ill health, family carers, health and social care professionals from twelve European countries.
PROSPECT Plus will, in its first phase, enable EUFAMI and its member organisations to work on updating the first module of the programme, the one dedicated to family and friends.

About World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day celebrates awareness for the global community in an empathetic way, with a unifying voice, helping those feel hopeful by empowering them to take action and to create lasting change. World Mental Health Day 2019 focuses on suicide prevention. For more information please visit

Download full press release

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Vacancy – Executive Director

EUFAMI wishes to invite applications for the post of:

Executive Director

to lead the organisation into its next phase of development, expanding and supporting its membership, deepening its influence in the field of mental health policy and building on its reputation as the advocate of family caregivers. This post is offered on a 2-year fixed term contract. Salary is negotiable and dependent on experience. The Executive Director will report to the EUFAMI President.

Location: Currently Leuven, Belgium but may change to Brussels
Salary (pro rata): Salary is negotiable and dependent on experience
Hours per week: Initially 3 days per week, with an option to rise to 5 days per week

Role and responsibilities:

  • Implement EUFAMI’s agreed Strategic Plan
  • Develop and implement a realistic and tangible plan to ensure long term financial stability for the organisation
  • Manage programme and project activities
  • Manage finance and human resources
  • Represent EUFAMI externally

The successful Candidate will demonstrate:

  • A successful track record in senior management in a comparable organisation
  • Proven track record and expertise in innovative methods of fundraising and management of financial partnership with funders, both commercial and EU bodies/EU programmes
  • Good working knowledge and understanding of mental health issues and policies affecting European countries and organisations
  • Excellent all round communication skills and abilities, and management of partnerships with stakeholders
  • Ability to work effectively with a Board of Directors and President and with a network of member associations
  • Ability to communicate in two or more European languages (including English)

The application process will require submission of a full Curriculum Vitae; together with a statement as to how you would approach the role and the specific professional and personal attributes you would bring to it.

Our aim is to have the recruitment process completed and a successful candidate appointed by the end of 2019. In order to achieve this objective, we intend to be as interactive as is necessary from the time we receive any application which we feel could fill the position. Therefore we will process appropriate applications as we receive them. Please email your application with CV to the EUFAMI President

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EUFAMI’s 7th European Family Congress will take place in Helsinki, Finland, on 19th and 20th September 2019, under the auspices of the Finnish Presidency of the EU.

Co-hosted by EUFAMI and FinFami, the theme of this year’s Congress is “Families at the Heart of Europe – our role in the Economy of well-being”.

The Congress will take place at the Radisson Blu Seaside Hotel (Ruoholahdenranta, 3, Helsinki) which is located in the harbour area of the Ruoholahti business district.

The Congress will be relevant to all family members, family carers/informal carers, and persons with lived experience of mental ill health.  It will also be of interest to healthcare professionals either working, or with an interest, in mental health related fields.  Policy makers will also find this year’s Congress particularly interesting as preliminary findings of EUFAMI’s “Economic Case” project will be unveiled. This is a project undertaken in cooperation with the London School of Economics with a purpose to better identify and value the challenges and rewards associated with informal care in different countries.  The findings will serve to inform discussions relating to European health, social and economic policies specifically in the context of an ageing population.

Throughout the different Plenary Sessions and Workshops, we will highlight the importance of work/life balance, the challenges and opportunities faced by families affected by mental ill health.  We will also look at the kind of support that is already available for families and what more can be done to enable them, and their loved ones, to lead a full life.  The Congress will contribute to the debates and propose solutions to the pressing demographic and economic challenges posed.


The Congress will take place over two days on Thursday, 19th September, and Friday, 20th September 2019 and will comprise of plenary sessions and workshops.

Details of the programme can be found here

All Congress sessions will be in English.

Delegate Fees and Registration

The full list of delegate fees can be found here

There will be a dinner for all delegates on the evening of Thursday, 19th September 2019. This is included in the registration fee.

If you would like to attend the Congress, please register here (

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Joint Election Statement


WE join forces to improve mental health – will YOU join US?

As patients, family members and healthcare professionals, we join forces to amplify the voice of the mental health sector and call on YOU to join us.

Good mental health is crucial for personal, social and economic development


  • Mental ill health affects more than one in six people across the European Union in any given year, with a total cost of over EUR 600 billion – or more than 4% of GDP – across the 28 EU countries (Health at a Glance, 2018).
  • Mental ill health can affect persons at any age and in a variety of forms (e.g. depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD…).
  • Mental ill health has costs and consequences that impact individuals, families and carers, health and social systems, society and the economy.
  • Poor mental health is consistently associated with unemployment, less education, low income or standard of living, poor physical health, adverse life events, poor quality of life and stigma.
  • Social and economic inequality and exclusion are both a cause and a consequence of mental ill health.


Despite the above, mental health has been accorded relatively low priority. There is an urgent need for better and wider understanding of mental health and for effective action.


WE join forces to improve mental health – will YOU join US?

Patients, families, family carers and health professionals have now joined forces to ensure that:

  • patients and their families are at the centre of all aspects of healthcare provision;
  • integrated and person-centred care and treatment is available, accessible, affordable, appropriate and of high quality, and that unmet needs are addressed;
  • awareness, knowledge and understanding of mental ill health is increased;
  • the rights of those affected by mental ill health are developed and enforced;
  • cooperation and communication between all stakeholders involved is strengthened;
  • mental health becomes a mainstream element in all EU policies with an impact on health;
  • patients, families, carers and health care professionals are pro-actively involved in EU and national policy and service development, including safe and digital health solutions;
  • the value and contribution of families and carers is recognised and taken account of in policy development (e.g. work/life balance) and future policy scenarios;
  • training in, education on and understanding of mental illness of (health) professionals is improved and harmonised.

Most importantly: as there is no health without mental health, we work towards ‘parity of esteem’: valuing mental health equally with physical health.


WE join forces to improve mental health – will YOU join US?

The MEP Alliance for Mental Health works towards these objectives;

We call on you to support its work and join today by clicking HERE

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