EU-Compass for Action on Mental Health and Well-being

The EU-Compass for Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing is a mechanism to collect, exchange and analyse information on policy and stakeholder activities in mental health. During 2015-18 the Compass will undertake action to disseminate the European Framework for Action on Mental Health and Well-being resulting from the Joint Action Mental Health and Well-being and it will monitor mental health and wellbeing policies and activities by Member States and non-governmental stakeholders through:

  • the identification and dissemination of European good practices in mental health
  • the collection of data on stakeholders’ and member states activities in mental health through three annual surveys
  • the organisation of three annual reports and forum events
  • holding national mental health workshops in each Member State and Iceland and Norway

In addition, the EU Compass will support the work of the EU-Group of Governmental Experts on Mental Health and Well-being through the preparation of four scientific papers. The aim is to develop these scientific reports in collaboration with the Group and under consultation of non-governmental stakeholders into consensus papers.

Outcomes of the EU Compass such as identified good practices, annual reports and consensus papers will be disseminated via:

  • the Compass website
  • the upcoming good practice database
  • the EU Compass newsletter

About the EU-Compass

The EU-Compass focuses on 7 priority areas:

  • preventing depression & promoting resilience
  • better access to mental health services
  • providing community-based mental health services
  • preventing suicide
  • mental health at work  
  • mental health in schools
  • developing integrated governance approaches.

It builds on the following EU-level mental health initiatives :

Policy & good practice  – collecting information

The EU-Compass will collect examples of good practices from EU countries and stakeholders on an ongoing basis. These examples will be evaluated using quality criteria agreed with Member States and the Commission that will be finalised in early 2016. 

The quality criteria and the good practice database will be available from spring 2016.

The EU-Compass annual activity reports summarise and analyse key developments in mental health promotion by EU countries and stakeholders. The first annual activity survey is currently ongoing and the report will be published here in the spring of 2016.

EU country involvement

The Commission, in cooperation with the Group of Governmental Experts on Mental Health and Well-being, supervises the development and implementation of the EU-Compass. There are many mental health promotion activities in each EU country, both at national and regional level.

From scientific reports to consensus papers

The EU-Compass will produce four scientific reports on different themes identified by the Group of Governmental Experts on Mental health. Each paper will cover issue and problem surrounding the theme, the current situation in Europe, a summary of relevant activities at the EU level and in Member States, best practices identified, and principles and recommendations for action.

Based on the preferences expressed by the Group of Governmental Experts at the November 2014 meeting, the first theme to be addressed will be prevention of depression and strengthening resilience. The following three themes will be confirmed in the future in collaboration with the European Commission and the Group of Governmental Experts, but they will reflect the seven priority themes of the EU-Compass.
The scientific papers will be produced by experts in their field and be submitted for consultation by the Group of Governmental Experts and relevant non-governmental stakeholders. Through this consultation process the scientific papers will be transformed into consensus papers.

Awareness workshop in EU countries

During the Compass project a multi-sectoral awareness-raising workshop will be organised in each EU country, which will focus on promoting the value of investing in Europe’s mental capital.

Stakeholders – mental health & well-being

There are a large number of specific mental health organisations.

However, many non governmental actors, such as:

  • workplaces, educational settings, social actors and
  • civil society organisations (e.g. voluntary or community organisations)

also implement mental health initiatives.

These non-governmental stakeholders also recognise the importance of mental health in the success of their own activities. To find out more, see this list of list of mental health and well-being stakeholders.

The first annual stakeholder activity survey is currently ongoing. The deadline for taking part is 31 March 2016.

Following the survey, a summary and review of key stakeholder mental health activities will be published in the spring of 2016.

EU Mental Health Forum

The Compass will hold three mental health forums as leadership events. These will focus on disseminating results from the annual surveys and facilitating high-level discussion on the progress of implementing the European Framework for Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing. A key part of this will be communicating the case for, and examples of, broad societal ownership and action on mental health and wellbeing through policy and non-governmental stakeholder action.

Mental Health in all policies

Mental Health in All Policies (MHiAP) means promoting mental health and well-being in non-health policy areas.

The MHiAP approach:

  • emphasises the impact of public policy on mental health determinants
  • aims to reduce mental health inequalities
  • highlights the benefits of promoting mental health in different policy areas, and
  • makes policymakers more accountable for mental health impacts.

For more information, see the Joint Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing reportpdf. It provides an overview of MHiAP in Europe and makes policy recommendations.