A sustainable approach to depression: moving from words to actions – REPORT


A meeting of the European Parliament Interest Group on Mental Health, Wellbeing and Brain Disorders was held in the European Parliament on 5 December and was the occasion for the presentation of a report aimed at providing policymakers with concrete ways to better address the full spectrum of depression and its impact on our societies.

Today, over 35 million people are estimated to be living with depression in Europe Its cost is 30% higher than that of stroke. Yet as a society, we lack understanding of depression and empathy for those affected. Policies focused on depression exist, but implementation is variable and suffers from significant under-resourcing. This in turn contributes to significant gaps in diagnosis and care: only 25% of people diagnosed with depression receive appropriate and timely care.

These gaps need to be remedied – and require a comprehensive, sustainable policy response, looking at how to prevent and manage depression across all aspects of society.

The participating organisations joined forces to address this needs. They agreed to produce a report aimed at providing policymakers with concrete ways to better address the full spectrum of depression and its impact on our societies. The report drew from the practical experiences of a variety of innovative projects addressing different aspect of depression across the EU. Key factors and lessons learnt were identified which can help policymakers develop and put in place concrete, relevant and sustainable policies and initiatives.

The event aimed to:

  • Present the key findings of this report;
  • Showcase examples of successful projects addressing depression;
  • Exchange views on how depression can be prioritised on the EU and national policy agendas;
  • Forge links between relevant stakeholders and explore ideas for future cooperation to ensure better management of depression.
Date: 5 December 2018, European Parliament Brussels, Room A5F 385

Tomas Zdechovsky MEP
Julian Beezhold (EPA)

12.30-12.40 Welcome
Tomas Zdechovsky and other MEPs present

12.40-12.45 Report: ‘A sustainable approach to depression: moving from words to actions’
Julian Beezhold (EPA)

12.45-13.10 Case studies underpinning the report
Peer support: Hilkka Kärkkäinen (GAMIAN-Europe)
Digital services: Prof Joseph Zohar (EPD)
Youth: Marc Hermans (UEMS – Psychiatry Section)
Employment: Frédéric Destrébecq (EBC)
Family/carers: Miia Männikkö (EUFAMI)

13.10-13.20 Key points of action for policymakers
Prof Joseph Zohar (EPD)

13.20- 13.30 Policymakers’ response
Brenda O’Brien, OSHA
Antoni Montserrat, European Commission, DG Santé

13.30-13.50 Audience debate
Moderated by Tomas Zdechovsky MEP and Julian Beezhold (EPA)

13.50-14.00 Conclusions and close
Tomas Zdechovsky MEP and other MEPs present
Frédéric Destrébecq (EBC)
Prof Joseph Zohar (EPD)

Nessa Childers, MEP
Marian Harkin, MEP
Jean Lambert, MEP
Cristian Silviu Busoi, MEP
Tomas Zdechovsky, MEP
Hilkka Kärkkäinen, President of GAMIAN-Europe

If you want to help GAMIAN-Europe, please donate by transfering your gift on the GAMIAN- Europe account

Don’t ever miss an update

Join our community and stay informed about the latest developments in mental health. Subscribe to our newsletter and receive valuable insights, expert advice, and helpful resources delivered straight to your inbox. Be part of the movement to prioritize mental well-being and help break the stigma surrounding mental health. Sign up now.

We’re Here Whenever You Need Us

General questions



Rue du Trône 60, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium

Subscribe to our mailing list