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People with mental health problems face barriers and prejudices to social inclusion and may need tailored care and support from health and social services. ESN advocates a person-centred and community-based approach to mental health services ensuring the involvement of users.


ESN’s work on mental health began with the seminar 'Building Partnerships in Mental Health' in 2009, which explored how stakeholders from the economic and social sectors could work together to support people with mental health problems. In 2010, ESN launched a working group to discuss stigma, personalisation, employment, and recovery. Members worked closely with the EU in implementing the European Pact for Mental Health and Wellbeing, shaping policy discussions and contributing with practice examples. ESN then launched the report 'Mental Health and Wellbeing in Europe' at the European Parliament in September 2011, with a special focus on mental health within the Europe 2020 Strategy. From 2013 to 2016, ESN participated European Joint Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing led by Member States and the European Commission. In that time, working group meetings, conferences, and workshops were held to develop a European Framework for Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing, which was presented at the concluding conference in 2016. From 2015 to 2018, the EU-Compass for Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing builds on the previous work undertaken around mental health at EU level and collects data and practices, and monitors countries’ mental health policies.


The European Commission launched the European Pact for Mental Health and Wellbeing in 2008 to raise awareness among policy makers of the impact of mental illness on wellbeing and the economy. From 2009-2011, a series of thematic conferences (youth and education; prevention of depression and suicide; older people; combating stigma; promoting mental health in the workplace) took place within the framework of the Pact. At the same time, the EU Compass for Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing was developed. From 2013-2016, the European Commission and Member States undertook a Joint Action on mental health. ESN participated in the Advisory Committee and three thematic work packages.


Key ESN Resources

External Resources

Documents of the European Joint Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing (with ESN involvement)

Relevant EU documents

For more information on our work on Mental Health please contact the ESN Policy Team.