World Health Organisation (WHO) and The European Commission (EC) Empowerment in Mental Health

The World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe and the European Commission started a partnership on ‘Empowerment in Mental Health’ in 2008. The objective was to build environments in which people with mental health problems are enabled to develop and express their full potential as equal citizens, are free from discrimination, and receive services according to their needs and choice.

Partners from mental health services, users and family associations and other experts from policy, human rights, civil society, health services and academia, planned and developed a broad range of project deliverables.

These included the conferences on Mental Health and Wellbeing at the Workplace- Protection and Inclusion in Challenging Times, in Berlin, Germany, 2009 and on Empowerment in Mental Health- Working towards Leadership in Leuvan, Belgium, 2010.

They also developed a WHO statement on empowerment in mental health which included recommendations for action, and empowerment indicators that are applicable at national level along with about 100 examples of good empowerment practice from 30 countries across the European Region.

The WHO- EC partnership project, its outcomes ad deliverables also informed a new WHO Mental Health Strategy for Europe, presented in 2013, which signalled the direction for mental health activities in the European Region. This covered a broad scope including population mental wellbeing across the life stages, the protection of the rights of service users, and the effective forms of interventions, as well as access to good health, and social inclusion.

With thanks to ENOPE (Patient Empowerment. Living with Chronic Disease).

Part of a series of short discussion topics on different aspects of self-management and patient empowerment written by ENOPE members for the 1st European conference on patient empowerment (ENOPE).