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: https://www.gamian.eu/wp-content/uploads/GAMIAN_Call_to_action_Final.pdf

Introduction of the Call and list of endorsers: https://www.gamian.eu/call-to-action-2609/

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World Mental Health Day 2018 – Young People and Mental Health In a Changing World

Caring for a young person when they are affected by mental ill health in their late teens or early twenties carries with it some specific worries.

Will they be able to finish their education? How will their financial position be affected? Will they find it difficult to form healthy relationships? What will happen when I am too old to care for them?

Leaving school, leaving home, starting university and entering the world of work are major life changes which could trigger mental ill health in young people.

More than 75% of the caregivers who took part in our Caring4Carers survey were looking after their son or daughter.

Meanwhile, young carers are too often hidden, forgotten and ignored.

There is a huge risk that young people caring for a relative with mental ill health could become ill themselves.

We believe young carers must be given special attention because support has been found to dramatically improve their lives.

Supporting carers of young people, and strengthening their position is a key part of our mission at EUFAMI.

We are pleased to support World Mental Health Day 2018, which is highlighting young people and mental health in a changing world.

More information on this year’s theme can be found here: http://www.who.int/mental_health/world-mental-health-day/2018/en/

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Our Projects

European Awareness Campaign
Connecting Sport & Physical Activity with Mental Health

ΜENS Project

«Life is like a bike. To keep your balance, you have to keep moving»: Albert Einstein combines in one sentence the laws of Physics with a life attitude. Another source of inspiration for the holistic approach of Mental Health through an active living, through the use of the positive effect that sport and physical exercise have on our daily mood and mental balance.

A link that aims to establish the five-month European Campaign “Life is like a bike” (February-June 2018) and will be held in parallel in 12 European countries, as the main goal of the MENS Project, the European project, which is co-funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus + program. MENS project is implemented with the involvement of 17 organizations, from 12 EU Member States, active in the field of mental health and / or sports and physical exercise.

The main objective of the MENS project, the coordinator of which is the organization “Social Cooperative Activities of Vulnerable Groups – EDRA” (www.edra-coop.gr) – is the establishment of the European Network of Active Living for Mental Health (ENALMH) highlighting the crucial meaning of the link between Physical Exercise and Sports for the prevention, the treatment and the rehabilitation in the field of Mental Health.

Campaign Material

Final Conference Material

Final Conference Minutes

The present volume is the final deliverable of the MENS project that includes the Minutes of the Final Conference which took place in Athens in June 14-15, 2018. For the policy papers a specific volume is published, including the 12 Policy Papers covering different aspects of the connection of Sport and Physical Activities with Mental Health.

Thus, in this booklet you will find the following selected materials of the Conference:

  • The detailed agenda of the Conference
  • The opening speech by the MENS Project Manager presenting the vision of the project and the overall initiative on the connection of Sport and Physical Activities with Mental Health.
  • An outline presentation of the MENS Project where a detailed description of the project development, the project aims and outcomes are provided.
  • A condensed presentation of the Research conducted during 2017 in 12 countries to collect data on the situation and connection between Sport and Physical Activity and Mental health field, throughout organizations and individuals across Europe, in order to prepare the Ground for the European Awareness Campaign that followed the next year.
  • The “Life is Like a bike” Awareness campaign
  • The Statutes of the European Network of Active Living for Mental Health (ENALMH) which is seated in Brussels, Belgium after its establishment on February 1st.

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The EU Compass for Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing

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Wahnsinn um drei Ecken (Madness around three corners)

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MENS Campaign – Life is a Bike!

The MENS Project – European Project on Sports and Mental Health has produced a video to encourage people to be more active in sports. An extensive survey (click here for the Executive Summary) carried out in the twelve countries that form partners of the MENS project clearly illustrated that physical exercise significantly contributes to mental health. The video is part of a campaign called “Life is like a bike – keep balance, keep moving!). The video in English can be viewed here. Click here to view the Press Release.

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Mental health sports event kicks off in Athens

The 1st Transnational Meeting of the European Project “EUROPEAN VOLUNTEER EVENTS for THERAPY through SPORTS”(EVENTS Project) took place on 23 & 24 November 2017, with the participation of 17 European Mental Health organisations from 14 countries (EUFAMI BE, First Fortnight IE, COOS Marche IT, OZARA SI, SPORIUM TR, CESIE Org IT, University of Kent UK, SSOI Rijeka CR, Fundacion Intras ES, Merseyside Expanding Horizons UK, ASOK LI, FOKUS Prague CZ, Red Cross Munich DE, Nadja Center Foundation BG, UNAFAM FR, Villa Montesca IT, ANARP PT). Greek Mental Health organisations were also involved.

The 1st European Sport & Physical Exercise Event for Mental Health, which is going to be held with the support of the Attica Region and the Municipality of Galatsi, is the culmination of the new strategy that highlights the independent and specialized approach of Physical Exercise and Sport as a critical and effective factor for a holistic intervention in the field of Mental Health. The “Social Cooperative Activities for Minority Groups – K.S.D.E.O. – EDRA” is the Project Coordinator.  It is an organization that has been taking action in the field of Mental Health since 2001 (www.edra-coop.gr ).

The first day of the meeting was hosted by the Kamini Cultural Center of Galatsi Municipality, where the General Secretary of the Municipality of Galatsi, Evangelos Kyriazopoulos, and ENALMH Vice-President, Alexandros Economou, referred to  the context of the association of their organisations with the objectives and the implementation of the EVENTS Project. In addition, all the participants visited Alssos Veikou, as the first 2 days of the 1st European Sport Event for Mental Health (7 & 8 September 2018) will be hosted at its premises. The completion of the three-day program and the closing ceremony (9/9/18) will take place at the Pedion Areos Park, with the support of the Attica Region.

The second day of the meeting, at Stanley Hotel Conference Hall, was devoted to the project’s communication strategy and the EVENTS connection with the European Awareness Campaign – starting in January 2018 – for a movement promoting an active lifestyle, sport for all, sport for the soul.

                        

 

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Commission diagnoses the state of health in the EU

Only by rethinking our health systems can we ensure that they remain fit-for-purpose and provide patient-centred care. This is what the 28 Country Health Profiles published on 23 November by the Commission, along with the Companion Report suggest. The reports provide an in-depth analysis of EU Member States’ health systems. They look at the health of the population and important risk factors, as well as at the effectiveness, accessibility and resilience of health systems in each EU member state. The reports clearly reflect shared objectives across the member states, and reveal potential areas where the Commission can encourage mutual learning and exchange of good practices.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Spending only 3% of our health budgets on prevention, compared with 80% on the treatment of diseases, is simply not enough. We need better access to primary care so that the emergency room isn’t people’s first port of call. And we need to enshrine health promotion and disease prevention into all policy sectors to improve people’s health and reduce pressure on health systems. These are just a few of the diagnoses coming out from our 2017 State of Health in the EU report. By offering comprehensive data and insights, we aim to support national health authorities in tackling the challenges and in making the right policy and investment choices. I hope they will make good use of it.”

A lack of context-sensitive, comprehensive analysis has long been identified as a major obstacle for health policy makers. To fill this knowledge gap, this month the Commission completed the first two-year cycle of the State of Health in the EU.

Key findings

The Country Health Profiles were prepared in cooperation with the OECD and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. Five cross-cutting conclusions come forward in the Companion Report:

Health promotion and disease prevention pave the way for a more effective and efficient health system. Aside from the unbalanced investments in prevention, social inequalities need to be tackled, as illustrated by the differences in cancer screening or physical activity between people with higher and lower income and education.

Strong primary care efficiently guides patients through the health system and helps avoid wasteful spending. 27% visit an emergency department because of inadequate primary care. Only 14 EU countries require primary care referral for consulting a specialist; 9 other countries have financial incentives for referrals.

Integrated care ensures that a patient receives joined-up care. It avoids the situation we currently see in nearly all EU countries, where care is fragmented and patients have to search their way through a maze of care facilities.

Proactive health workforce planning and forecasting make health systems resilient to future evolutions. The EU has 18 million healthcare professionals, and another 1.8 million jobs will be created by 2025. Health authorities need to prepare their workforce for upcoming changes: an ageing population and multimorbidity, the need for sound recruitment policies, new skills, and technical innovation.

Patients should be at the centre of the next generation of better health data for policy and practice. The digital transformation of health and care helps capture real-world outcomes and experiences that matter to patients, with great potential for strengthening the effectiveness of health systems.

Next steps

Following the presentation to Health Ministries of all EU countries, national authorities can further discuss these reports with the experts of the OECD and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. The voluntary exchanges will be able to take place from the beginning of 2018 and help Ministries to better understand the main challenges and develop the appropriate policy responses.

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