On the eve of World Mental Health Day, a new Eurobarometer on mental health has revealed that nine in ten respondents (89%) consider that mental health promotion is as important as physical health promotion. At the same time, less than half of respondents agree that people with mental health issues receive the same level of care as those with a physical condition. Moreover, almost half of respondents (46%) experienced an emotional or psychosocial problem, such as feeling depressed or anxious, in the past twelve months. More than half of these respondents (54%) with a mental health issue have not received help from a professional, according to the survey. These results show that it is crucial to continue working on mental health at EU level.
Tomorrow, Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, will host a high-level conference on mental health, building on the ‘Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health', presented by the Commission in June 2023. The event will be attended by Her Majesty the Queen of the Belgians, as well as hundreds of representatives from EU institutions, national governments, European organisations and other interested partners.
Increased pressure on mental health
The Eurobarometer published today confirms that recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia's aggression in Ukraine, the climate crisis, and other societal and economic pressures, have exacerbated the already poor levels of mental health in Europe. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, one in six people in the EU suffered from mental health issues and the situation has worsened. Most respondents replied that recent world events have influenced their mental health ‘somewhat' (44%) or ‘to a great extent' (18%).
Most respondents (60%) think that the most important factors to achieve good mental health are living conditions, followed by financial security (53%). About a third of Europeans consider that being in contact with nature and green spaces (35%), sleeping habits (35%), physical activity (34%) and social contact (33%) are key contributors to good mental health. In all Member States however, a large majority believe that the use of social media can negatively impact the mental health of young people.
In terms of how the EU can contribute the most to improving the mental health of European citizens, the largest share of respondents selected ‘improving the overall quality of life' (45%), followed by ‘improving access and support to diagnosis, treatment and care of mental health patients' (37%), and ‘supporting the mental health of the most vulnerable' (35%).
High-level conference on mental health
Mental health is an integral part of health, and a priority for the Commission. In this context, tomorrow, the Commission is organising a hybrid mental health conference in Brussels and online. The half-day event will be hosted by Commissioner Kyriakides and will include keynote speeches from Her Majesty the Queen of the Belgians, Marc Angel, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, José Miñones, Spanish Minister of Health, Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF Representative to the European Institutions, Dr. Péter Takács, Hungarian Minister of State for Health and Frank Vandenbroucke, Belgian Minister of Social Affairs.
Participants will listen to testimonials, exchange information and good practices on topics such as mental health across all policies, promotion and prevention, and equal access for all.
The Flash Eurobarometer was conducted between 14 June 2023 and 21 June 2023. A total of 26,501 respondents aged 15 and over from 27 EU Member States were interviewed via computer-assisted web interviewing.
On 7 June 2023, the Commission adopted the Communication on a comprehensive approach to mental health, which will help Member States and stakeholders to take action to deal with mental health challenges. The new Communication has 20 flagship initiatives, identifies €1.23 billion in funding opportunities and has a focus on addressing vulnerable groups, such as children, young people, migrants and refugees.
For more information
- Publication date
- 9 October 2023
- Representation in Malta