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Health and Food Safety Directorate General

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Independent Expert Panel on effective ways of investing in health publishes opinion on supporting the mental health of the health workforce and other essential workers

Essential workers, including the health workforce, were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading many to suffer from mental health difficulties. The European Commission has requested the Expert Panel on effective ways of investing in health (EXPH) to provide an opinion on how to best offer mental health support to the health workforce and other essential workers. The published opinion follows stakeholder discussions during a public hearing on 8 June 2021.

The opinion identifies the specific factors that influence health workers’ mental wellbeing and other essential workers. It describes the characteristics of effective or promising interventions and elaborates on the necessary preconditions to ensure the efficient delivery of these interventions across healthcare settings.

The recommendations in the opinion call to change the focus from ‘mental health’ to ‘mental wellbeing’, incorporating the idea of staff wellbeing as an inherent part of the workplace. The recommendations are addressed to EU and national decision makers in the field of health, employment and education policies, as well as senior managers of organisations which employ a high number of essential workers. They cover a number of areas from planning, screening, reporting to training, research and knowledge sharing.

The Expert Panel on effective ways of investing in health is an interdisciplinary and independent group established by the European Commission to provide non-binding independent advice on matters related to effective, accessible and resilient health systems.

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