Mental Health Prioritisation in the Workplace: Detailed Insights from the Belgian EU Presidency’s Second-Day Focus

Under the 2024 Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, mental health and workplace well-being received prominent attention, showcasing a dedicated day to these pivotal issues. The event underscored the importance of mental health in fostering a supportive work environment.

Key highlights include:

  • Deputy Prime Ministers Frank Vandenbroucke and David Clarinval presented compelling visions for a Europe that supports its citizens, particularly focusing on the well-being of the self-employed and SMEs. They showcased Belgian initiatives as leading examples of promoting mental health in the workplace.
  • Joaquim Pintado Nunes from the International Labour Organisation provided a keynote on the challenges organisations face regarding mental health and the critical need for effective mental health policies.


The event featured insightful parallel sessions on the theme of ‘start-stay-return to work,’ addressing:

  1. The essential role of a comprehensive life-course approach in combating mental health stigma and discrimination, promoting health literacy among managers and the broader community.
  2. The importance of early recognition and intervention for burnout, with a special focus on the self-employed and SMEs. This session highlighted FEDRIS’ call for more comprehensive data to address these issues effectively.
  3. The exploration of the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) method as an effective strategy for workforce reintegration, strongly advocated by RIZIV. The plenary session included valuable contributions from MEP Sara Cerdas, Milena Angelova (European Economic and Social Committee), Catherine Brogan (Mental Health Europe), Peter Kéri (GAMIAN-Europe), and Maria Iglesia (DG EMPL at the European Commission). Discussions revolved around an integrated approach to mental health and the anticipation of future European initiatives. The session emphasised the need for continued engagement with social partners to further mental health efforts.

Closing remarks from a European Commission representative and Chairman Peter Samyn reinforced the commitment to advancing mental health in the workplace.

Peter Keri, president of GAMIAN-Europe, expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to discuss the importance of inclusive patient involvement in shaping a future where mental health is a priority in Europe. He highlighted the need for a holistic approach to mental well-being, considering social inclusion and employment as key factors. Keri also touched on the importance of incorporating patient feedback into care systems for better recovery outcomes and the critical role of patient organisations in the mental health sector. This event marked a significant step forward in the collective effort to prioritise mental health in the workplace, with optimism for the developments this dialogue will bring.”




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