Mental Health Europe opposes funding cuts

The economic crisis will not last for ever, but cuts in social services, although seemingly cost efficient now, will have lasting negative effects, says Mental Health Europe (MHE) in a statement to mark World Mental Health Day:

“It is time for governments and European policy-makers to understand that the rise in mental health problems in Europe is due as much to the crisis as to governments’ response to it. Budget cuts, the reduction of allowances for families and disabled people, diminishing benefits and a decrease in the number of staff working in social services will only worsen this already dire situation, and harm the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.”

The organisation makes eight recommendations:

  • Support should be given to the EU member states to implement the EU’s Active Inclusion Strategy, therefore granting an adequate minimum income to all, including those who are (temporarily or permanently) not able to work.
  • A modernisation of social protection systems, which would alleviate the effects of unemployment or sickness, is necessary.
  • National debt relief legislation and debt relief programs should be put in place, in order to reduce the mental health effects of the economic crisis.
  • A social scoreboard should be created, measuring the effects that new policies have on the social situation in a country, and in particular their impact on the most vulnerable groups in society.
  • Civil society should be regularly taken on board in policy-making through consultations and coordinated interactions with policy-makers.
  • Measures should be set up for avoiding homelessness, which is both a cause and a consequence of mental health problems.
  • The European Pact for Mental Health and Wellbeing, should be implemented, as it is an integral part of the European Platform Against Poverty and Social Exclusion.
  • Governments should take a proactive approach to (re)integrating young people and people with physical disabilities or mental health problems in the labor market.

MHE is committed to the promotion of positive mental health, the prevention of mental distress, the improvement of care, advocacy for social inclusion and the protection of human rights for people with mental health problems, their families and carers across Europe. The British Psychological Society is a member of the organisation.