The message of the European Conference on
Promotion of Mental Health and Social Inclusion is clear: there is no health without
mental, and this concerns all citizens. Mental health must be promoted cross-sectorally
and at all levels of society, since it is a significant resource for both individuals and
nations. During the conference a recommendation was formulated for a European mental
health policy, that is proposed to be incorporated in the EUs new public health
According to Minister Eva Biaudet the debate about mental health promotion will
continue within the EU, since the next Presidency countries Portugal, France and Belgium
have promised to support Finlands mental health initiative.
The ministers of health were unanimous that extensive co-operation, research and
exchange of good practices are needed to promote mental health. Minister Biaudet put forth
that a follow-up conference should be arranged in a few years to evaluate the outcomes of
the conference in Tampere.
It was stressed in the recommendation of the conference that mental health policy
should include certain components linked to national social infrastructures and services.
At the national level mental health could be promoted, among others, through
legislation, a strategy for mental health promotion and networking across different
sectors. Strategies supporting mental health are needed in the field of mental health
information, research and development and human resources.
Mental health should be promoted e.g. at schools and workplaces, and evidence-based
guidelines for good practices should be created for the related services. The
participation of service users and their families in the planning and implementation of
operations is considered especially important.
The recommendations underline that the details of European mental health policy vary
according to the culture and other circumstances of each individual country. Priorities in
the promotion of mental health are enhancement of the value and visibility of mental
health, development of mental health indicators, promotion of mental health of children
and young people, working life, employment policy and mental health promotion, as well as
telematics in mental health promotion and substance abuse prevention.
The recommendations have been prepared in European co-operation since 1997 when Finland
presented the initiative concerning mental health to the EU Council of Ministers. The
three-day conference gathered in Tampere almost 250 experts in mental health. The
conference was arranged by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the National
Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health and the European Commission.