The Final Conference of the JA MH-WB was held on 21-22 January 2016 in Brussels

Fernando Araújo, Secretary of State of Health, Portugal, opening the conferenceThe Final Conference of the Joint Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing (JA MH-WB), held in Brussels on 21-22 January 2016, presented the opportunity to discuss progress made over the past three years and to hold a debate on the European Framework for Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing, the most important outcome of this initiative.

According to the situational analysis made by the Joint Action, significant advances took place in Europe in public mental health in the recent years. Yet, important challenges remain to be effectively addressed and in most countries mental health policies have not been fully implemented.

Enhanced efforts and new strategies are, therefore, needed to improve the implementation of policies aiming at the provision of essential mental health care for the most prevalent mental disorders and the development of preventive and promotion interventions. Based on this, the European Framework for Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing has five main objectives:

1. Ensure the setup of sustainable and effective implementation of policies contributing to promotion of mental health, prevention and treatment of mental disorders.

2. Develop mental health promotion and prevention programmes through integration of mental health in all policies and multisectoral cooperation.

3. Ensure transition to comprehensive mental health care in the community, emphasising the availability of mental health care for people with common mental disorders, coordination of health and social care for people with severe mental disorders as well as integrated care for mental and physical disorders.

4. Strengthen knowledge, the evidence base and good practices sharing in mental health

5. Partnering for progress.

Around 175 people participated and 22 countries were represented during the two days of the conference. The conference had participation of important stakeholders and governmental representatives from the mental health field at the European level and several organisations and political individualities were invited to give their perspectives, for example: World Health Organization (WHO), European Psychiatric Association (EPA), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), European Federation of Psychologists’ Association (EFPA); European Psychiatric Nurses International (Horatio); International Organization for Migration (IOM); European Network of (ex-)Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP); Global Alliance of Mental Illness Advocacy Networks-Europe (GAMIAN-Europe); Jo Vandeurzem (Minister of Well-being, Public Health and Family of the Region of Flanders, Belgium); Fernando Araújo (Secretary of State of Health Ministry Portugal); Xavier Prats Monné (Director-general for Health and Food Security, European Commission), Marianne Vaes (Head of Health, Welfare and Sport section of the Permanent representation of the Netherlands to the EU); Laimute Vaideliene (Vice- Minister of Health, Lithuania) and Päivi Sillanaukee (Permanent Secretary of the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland).

The event was a great opportunity to bring up important discussions, form opinions and boost networking. It was a step for further action and the process of disseminating and implementing the policy recommendations from the JA MH-WB is now in the hands of us all.

For more information about the Final Conference, please visit the conference website where you can also find photos of the conference.