The European Commission Green
12. The publication of the EU Commission Green
Paper in October 2005 was the first step in the Commission's response
to the invitation from the Health Ministers of Member States to
support the WHO Action Plan. The aim of the Green Paper was to
launch a debate with the European institutions, Governments, health
professionals, stakeholders in other sectors, civil society including
patient organisations, and the research community about the relevance
of good mental health for the EU, the need for a strategy at EU-level
and its possible priorities.
In so doing, the EU set out to build on the political impetus
created by the WHO's Helsinki Declaration to take much needed
action in the mental health field. The case was put forward that
the creation of a European Strategy for Mental Health could have
positive benefits for the EU's strategic objectives of long-term
economic prosperity and a better quality of life.
13. In particular, the Commission proposed that
the Strategy could focus on four aspects.
(a) Promote the mental health of all;
(b) Address mental ill health through preventive
(c) Improve the quality of life of people with
mental ill health or disability through social inclusion and the
protection of their rights and dignity; and
(d) Develop a mental health information, research
and knowledge system for the EU.
14. The Commission argue that the establishment
of a strategy at EU level could add value in a number of areas
to the actions of Member States acting alone. There is, they argue,
"widespread agreement that the human, social and economic
dimension of mental health need wider recognition by policy makers
and greater public awareness. Important initiatives are being
taken at the level of Member States, the EU and the WHO".
The concept of an EU "Platform" approach is advanced
for creating a framework for the exchange of information and development
of best practice. It is envisaged that a wide range of stakeholders
would be involved including: policy makers, professional experts
from the health and non-health sectors, and patient and civil
The conduct of our Inquiry
15. The Members of our Social Policy and Consumer
Affairs Sub-Committee (Sub-Committee G) who conducted the Inquiry,
showing their declared interests, are listed in Appendix 1.
16. Our Call for Evidence is in Appendix 2. We
are most grateful for the evidence that we received in response
to this; and we thank, in particular, those witnesses who gave
us evidence in person. Those who gave us evidence are listed in
Appendix 3, and the evidence we received is printed in Volume
2 of this Report.
17. We acknowledge with considerable thanks the
expertise and hard work of our Specialist Adviser for the InquiryProfessor Martin
Knappwho played a key role in helping us to prepare this
18. We make this Report to the House for debate.
1 Commission Green Paper Improving the mental health
of the population: Towards a strategy on mental health for the
European Union: section 3 and Annex 2. Back
Mental health in the workplace: Introduction. Prepared by Ms.
Phyllis Gabriel and Ms. Marjo-Riitta Liimatainen. International
Labour Office, Geneva, October 2000. ISBN 92-2-112223-9 Back
Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health-The economic and social
costs of mental illness in England, June 2003 Back
Knapp et al, editors, Mental Health Policy and Practice across
Europe, Open University Press, 2007 Back
Mental Health Declaration for Europe: Facing the challenges,
building solutions, WHO 2005 Back
Mental Health Action Plan for Europe: Facing the challenges,
building solutions, WHO 2005 Back
op. cit. p.3 Back
op. cit. p.8 Back
op. cit. p.13 Back
In addition, a number of references are made in the report to
documents which are not printed; these are available for inspection
in the Parliamentary Archives (Tel. 020 7219 5316). Back