With the aim of helping the EU Member States to lessen the effect of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and to improve mental health and wellbeing, last month the European Commission announced the start of the Healthier Together – EU Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Initiative. GAMIAN-Europe together with other seven European-level organisations published today a position paper highlighting the positive side of the initiative and expressing their concern about a number of missing points.
The statement which has been also endorsed by four individual stakeholders stresses the need for a more ambitious approach to mental health and calls on the EU Member States to include the right to mental health as part of human rights. ‘Member states have obligations arising from international treaties (such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the EU and all its MS have ratified) to work towards achieving these commitments’ states the document.
Furthermore, the position paper makes reference to the insufficient discussion around the links between mental health and NCDs despite the research done in the field and the need to ensure that the initiative also covers the mental health needs of vulnerable groups and young people.
As a final call, stakeholders involved put together in the document a series of recommendations to both the European Commission and Member States such as developing an EU-wide Mental Health Strategy and ensuring that a sufficient part of the national budgets is allocated to mental health initiatives.