Mental Health in all Policies
Effective interventions to promote mental health and prevent mental disorders require reaching out to non-health policies.
Mental health and wellbeing is a cross-sectorial issue for all parts of the government.
Actions for mental health in non-health policy areas can be fostered by demonstrating existing win-win situations.
Mental health and many common mental disorders are shaped to a great extent by the social, economic, physical and cultural environments in which people live.
Mental Health in All Policies in the Joint Action for Mental Health and Well-being is about how the policies of different sectors can have an impact on mental health. The focus of the working group is at identifying, evaluating and disseminating good population level practices on how to take mental health and wellbeing into account in decision making processes. The aim is to present in the end of 2015 a Framework for Mental Health in All Policies as a useful tool for Member States at different levels of governance (local, regional, national).
The work started in 2013 with a survey of good practices in 10 partner countries and the data collection was extended to other Member States in 2014. The data collection concentrated on getting information on intersectoral collaboration practices with all kinds of policy sectors (such as employment, environment, education, culture, etc.) In the autumn of 2014 the reported practices will be assessed and good policy level practices for exchange between Member States will be selected.
In 2015 the evaluated good policy level practices will be introduced including strategies how to involve other sectors to get mental health and wellbeing issues into decision making processes. Good practices will, for instance, include tools for mainstreaming mental health issues, tools for mental health impact assessment of policy decisions and strategies to create collaboration with different sectors in mental health issues.
From the early results it is emerging that conceptual clarity will be important in the implementation phase since the idea of Mental Health in All Policies is quite new and unknown in many sectors and countries. It is encouraging, however, that the attitudes towards the concept have been mainly positive and its value has been broadly supported.
The integration of mental health in all policies is in progress in Europe. Even if the concept is relatively new the practices have started to develop and in some countries promising examples can be found.
The Mental Health in All Policies work package has developed four Policy Briefs that provide practical information on including mental health in education, labour, local authority and whole-of-government policies.
Conference Conclusions for the Mental Health in All Policies – Supporting sustainability and growth in Europe, which was held 11-12 May 2015 in Helsinki, Finland, have also been produced in collaboration with the Finnish Ministry for Social Affairs and Health.