Empowerment of persons affected by mental ill health and their self-management of care and treatment – REPORT


A meeting of the European Parliament Interest Group on Mental Health, Wellbeing and Brain Disorders has been held in the European Parliament on 16 May and was the occasion for the launch of our Call to Action on the empowerment of persons affected by mental ill health and their self-management of care and treatment, as developed by GAMIAN-Europe with input from a wide variety of (mental) health stakeholders.


It is increasingly recognised that the burden and prevalence of mental health conditions is huge: 11 % of the European population experience mental disorders every year. The proportion of the national health budget devoted to mental health ranges between 4% to 13% across the EU. Social and economic inequality and exclusion are both a cause and a consequence of mental ill health.
These conditions go hand in hand with substantial stigma, costs and consequences that impact individuals, families and carers, health and social systems, society and the economy. As a consequence, there is an obvious need to address mental health conditions in the most effective way. Empowered patients, managing their own care and treatment, can support this need in many ways.
However, while the notion of and need for patient empowerment has been increasingly accepted when it comes to patients affected by physical health conditions, this is not the case for those affected by mental health problems; many individuals and organisations have highlighted the disempowering attitudes and behaviours towards people with mental illness which exist in society. The stigma attached to having a mental health issue – as opposed to having a physical health issue –  is pervasive and widespread.
Many people with physical health problems already self-manage their care and treatment and are seen as competent and capable to do so. However, when it comes to mental health, the competence of patients to self-manage their treatment and care is usually viewed as doubtful. Most people with mental health problems, most of the time, do have the competence to self-manage their treatment and care.
This Call to Action therefore highlights what can be done to empower patients and to engage them as partners in care.  It underlines that patients should be seen as resource in this respect; and empowering patients will ensure the best possible ‘use’ of that resource, while putting patients at the heart of care provision.
  • To be informed of the importance of empowered patients, who play an active role in the management of their care and treatment;
  • To present and discuss the draft Call to Action on this topic;
  • To hear the views of EU-level policy makers and relevant mental health stakeholders on this topic as well as their recommendations for action;
  • To have an open discussion on how this topic can be further advanced at EU level.



Date      16 May 2018, 11.00 – 13.00

Venue    European Parliament – Room A5F 385

Topic     Mental health, patient empowerment and self-management of care and treatment – a Call to Action


Chair: John Bowis, GAMIAN-Europe

11.00 – 11.10    Welcome and introductions

Tomas Zdechovsky MEP

Francesc Gambus MEP

Marian Harkin MEP

11.10 – 11.30    Why empowerment matters

John Bowis, GAMIAN-Europe

Patrick Colemont, Ups en Downs (B)

11.30 – 11.45    Patient empowerment – a Call to Action

Katarina Nomidou, GAMIAN-Europe

11.45 – 12.20    Stakeholder response

Silvana Galderisi, European Psychiatric Association

Margaret Walker, EUFAMI

Maria Nyman, Mental Health Europe

Wilma Boevink, Trimbos Instituut

12.20 – 12.45    Audience debate: defining the next steps

12.45 – 12.55    Conclusions

Tomas Zdechovsky MEP

Francesc Gambus MEP

12.55 – 13.00    Close

John Bowis, GAMIAN-Europe

Registration is now closed!

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


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