As well as the damage it causes to individual lives, mental illness – most commonly anxiety and depression – also carries significant social and economic costs (especially for the education, care and justice systems). It is one of the main reasons for people taking sick leave, early retirement or a disability pension.
EU governments have the main responsibility for action in this field, although non-governmental bodies are increasingly active.
EU policies help protect and promote mental health, raise awareness of related issues and create a pan European framework for cooperating and sharing good practice – between governments and sectors and linking policies, practice and research.
Delivering this is the goal of the European Pact for Mental Health and Well-being, which has 5 priorities:
• Prevention of Depression and Suicide;
• Mental Health in Youth and Education;
• Mental Health in Workplace Settings;
• Mental Health of Older People;
• Combating stigma and social exclusion.