Today, in a meeting of the European Parliament Interest Group on Mental health, Well-being and Brain Disorders, nine high-level mental health and brain health related organisations launched a joint report entitled ‘A sustainable approach to depression: moving from words to actions’.
GAMIAN-Europe, the European Psychiatric Association (EPA), the European Brain Council, EUFAMI, the Expert Platform on Depression, Eurocarers, the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, UEMS -Section of Psychiatry and the International Federation for Psychotherapy joined forces to highlight the urgent need for concrete and effective action to major depressive disorders.
As more than 35 million people are estimated to be living with depression in Europe, and as the costs are 30% higher than that of many other health conditions, it is obvious that this condition should be seen as one of the major and most impactful health scourges. While policies and actions focused on depression do exist, implementation is variable and suffers from significant under-resourcing in most of the cases. This, in turn, contributes to significant gaps in diagnosis and care: only 25% of people diagnosed with depression receive appropriate and timely care.
The nine organisations therefore advocate a comprehensive and sustainable policy response, which should have a holistic approach. In addition, it should focus on the entire spectrum of depression, ranging from prevention and early diagnose to better management and prevention of suicide.
The report launched today draws from the practical experiences of a variety of innovative projects addressing different aspect of depression across the EU. It lists key factors and findings which can help policymakers develop and put in place concrete, relevant and sustainable policies and initiatives, summarised in 10 practical recommendations. These include the need for integrated services, a focus on young people, a whole family approach, a positive work environment and joined up policies on suicide.
The report, made possible by the support of Janssen, will be widely disseminated at EU and national levels to ensure sufficient visibility and policy attention. The coalition of 9 organisations will continue its advocacy activities and is currently considering future cooperative actions to stimulate and support better management of major depressive disorders in a holistic fashion.