A Year in Review: A Resounding Call to Action in 2022
Last year, GAMIAN-Europe marked World Mental Health Day by sharing a compelling video that served as a call to action for policy-makers and change-makers across the European Union. We pressed for the need for a European year dedicated to mental health and a comprehensive EU-level strategy to address mental health concerns.
The initiative garnered significant support, with MEPs like Maria Walsh, Alex Agius Saliba, Radka Maxová, and Estrella Durá Ferrandis, among others, making a robust case for immediate action. High-profile stakeholders such as Frédéric Destrebecq, the Executive Director of the European Brain Council (EBC), and Peter Falkai, former President of the European Psychiatric Association (EPA), also lent their voices to the cause.
World Mental Health Day 2023: The Human Storybook in Brussels
This year, GAMIAN-Europe took a more interactive approach to commemorate World Mental Health Day by hosting “The Human Storybook” outside the European Parliament. The aim was to humanise the often abstract concept of mental health, focusing on individuals with lived experience.
Our President, Peter Kéri, our Board Member, Tineke Mollema, and Chantel Fouche from ADHD, ASC & LD Belgium were on hand to engage as experts by experience in meaningful conversations on mental health with passersby. Individuals of all ages came to our booth on a sunny day in Brussels, each contributing to the narrative that mental health is not merely a topic for discussion but a lived reality that demands societal change.
Challenging Stigma, One Conversation at a Time
The Human Storybook initiative was a reminder that society needs to be more open and inclusive, free from the stigma and discrimination that often plague conversations about mental health. The event allowed people to share, learn, and, most importantly, to feel heard. It highlighted the need for urgent policy measures at the European level, but also demonstrated the power of individual stories to inspire change.
Looking Ahead: The Time for Action is Now
The overwhelming response to “The Human Storybook” reinforces our belief in the necessity of a pan-European strategy for mental health. We urge policy-makers, healthcare providers, and citizens alike to recognise the urgency of this issue. The conversations we started on World Mental Health Day should not end here; they are the stepping stones for a future where mental health is treated with the gravity and compassion it deserves.