EU-level roundtable on the psychosocial approach to mental health

As part of the activities organised around the European  Day for Mental Health on 10 October, we were invited to a round-table co-hosted by Estrella Durá (S&D, Portugal) and Cyrus Engerer (S&D, Cyprus) at the European Parliament in Brussels. This closed meeting coordinated by Mental Health Europe (MHE) aimed to highlight the emerging and evolving mental health practice that challenge a psychosocial approach to mental health and identify ways to address them. You can find concrete examples in the toolkit of Mental Health Europe.

Together with other representatives from civil society, we shared concrete examples of how the psychosocial model can be applied in practice and how this approach could better support the communities they represent. Similarly, representatives from the Council shared the work of their member states on mental health, including good practices or existing barriers.

We also expressed our concerns by highlighting how critical ageism is for the mental well-being of older people and their access to mental health care and support. We also reminded the diversity of older people who need different types of support depending on their situation and background. This is namely the case for older workers, as we explained in our new AGE Barometer (see our Special Briefing).  

What is the psychosocial approach to mental health?  

If we want to improve the lives of people with mental health problems, and if we want to have better prevention of mental health issues, we need a different kind of approach: one which deals directly with the social determinants of mental health and the lived experiences of people. We call this a psycho-social model. At its heart is the recognition that we are embedded in a network of personal, social and community relationships which may for a time not be working for us because of loss, grief, trauma, poverty or any number of factors that make us sad, anxious, desperate or lost. Yet this network can over time with the appropriate support be empowered to work, enabling recovery and a better life.

Source: Mental Health Europe

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Julia Wadoux

Policy Manager on Healthy Ageing and Accessibility

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