Spain will submit the approval of a common strategic framework on mental health to the EU Council

News - 2023.11.14

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On 30 November, Spain will submit the approval of a common strategic framework on Mental Health to the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council of the European Union (EPSCO), as a result of the work being carried out during the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU on this issue.

This was announced this Tuesday by the acting Minister for Health, José Miñones, during his involvement in the closing session of the High Level Meeting on Mental Health held today in Avilés (Asturias).

As José Miñones pointed out, the member states have "unanimously" backed the promotion of EU Council conclusions that will ensure a homogeneous framework for European action on mental health; a "broad and useful" agreement that will allow any country considering a review of its mental health strategy to do so "with guarantees and with the same strategic vision".

The acting Minister for Health highlighted the efforts that the Government of Spain has been making since the start of the presidency of the Council of the EU to establish synergies between countries so that mental health and the vectors of prevention, detection and treatment are common throughout Europe.

In this regard, he also highlighted the Communication submitted by the Commission at the beginning of this six-month period, which includes funding opportunities worth 1.23 billion euros in Mental Health, the holding of various High Level Meetings and the request to the European Economic and Social Committee to issue an opinion recognising the importance of prioritising Mental Health in Europe.

In short, Miñones argued, during this period Spain has sought to "make visible and move forwards" in one of the greatest challenges facing European healthcare, "leading a strategic reflection" on the subject and making Mental Health a major point on the EU healthcare agenda.

In this context, he pointed out the high impact that the crisis caused by COVID-19, the increase in the cost of living or the war provoked by Russia's aggression against Ukraine have had on the mental health of the European population; "a true silent epidemic" that has particularly affected the most vulnerable groups.

Responding to the stigma

The acting Minister for Health also defended the need to tackle the stigma and taboos that have traditionally surrounded mental health problems, prioritising the response of member states in their health agenda. A "paradigm shift" on which Spain has been working in recent years with the implementation of various initiatives and actions, such as updating the Mental Health Strategy and the approval of the Mental Health Action Plan 2022-2024, with specific projects and milestones.

A roadmap, provided with 100 million euros, and tools such as the 024 suicide hotline, which has dealt with more than 170,000 calls since May 2022 and is in addition to other actions such as the creation of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry speciality.

The event was also attended, among others, by the Government Delegate in Asturias, Delia Losa; the Regional Minister for Health, Concepción Saavedra; the Secretary of State for Health, Silvia Calzón; the President of the Mental Health Spain Confederation, Nel González; the Director General of Public Health, Pilar Aparicio; and the Mayor of Avilés, Mariví Montesirín.

Non official translation