Explanatory memorandum on European Community
GREEN PAPER: IMPROVING THE MENTAL HEALTH
OF THE POPULATION TOWARDS A STRATEGY ON MENTAL HEALTH FOR THE
31 OCTOBER 2005
The stated purpose of the green paper is to
launch a debate about "the relevance of mental health for
the EU, the need for a strategy at EU level, and its possible
priorities." The paper was adopted by the Commission on 14
19 OCTOBER 2006
The green paper's key messages are that:
mental health is important for key
EU policy objectiveseg health, quality of life, economic
and social welfare;
there are serious challengeseg
mental ill-health leading to suicide or absenteeism, stigma and
there is a need for a stronger evidence
base for action.
The need for an EU strategy
The paper suggests that an EU-wide strategy
would add value by:
creating a framework for exchange
and co-operation between member states;
increasing the coherence of actions
in different policy sectors; and
opening a new platform for involving
The paper identifies three basic priorities,
and in each case some options for action based on good practice
identified through EU projects:
promoting mental health and addressing
mental ill health through preventive action;
promoting the social inclusion of
mentally ill or disabled people and protecting their fundamental
rights and dignity; and
improving information and knowledge
on mental health in the EU.
The consultation will happen in three main ways:
by creating a dialogue on mental
health with member states;
by launching an EU platform on mental
health (to promote consensus and co-operation across the various
sectors and stakeholders involved); and
by developing an interface between
mental health policy and research (to overcome gaps in data and
ensure better-informed policy making).
The questions that the consultation will focus
how relevant is mental health for
the EU's strategic policy objectives?
would an EU mental health strategy
add value, and does the green paper identify the right priorities?
are the initiatives that the paper
proposes appropriate and sufficient?
The results of the consultation process may
be developed into a Council Recommendation on the promotion of
mental health and another on the reduction of depression and suicidal
The Secretary of State for Health has lead responsibility.
Ministers of the Scottish Executive and the Welsh Assembly have
an interest relating to their responsibilities for health care
provision. Whilst the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive
are suspended the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has
(i) Legal basis
Some of the proposals for action in the green
paper fall under Community competence in accordance with the provisions
of Article 152 of the EC Treaty. The paper recognises that other
proposals will be the exclusive competence of Member States.
(ii) European Parliament Procedure
None. This is a consultation document only.
(iii) Voting Procedure
(iv) Impact on United Kingdom law
(v) Application to Gibraltar
This is a consultation document only. However,
the paper's main proposals and priorities are in line with current
UK policy: for example on combatting the social exclusion and
stigma associated with mental health, and reducing suicide rates.
The consultation period was launched formally
on 24 October. The consultation period will run until the end
of May 2006. Depending on the outcome of the consultation, there
may be Council Recommendations and a Commission proposal for an
EU mental health strategy by the end of 2006.
Minister for Health Services,
Department of Health