A new report has highlighted what it describes as a “heavy burden” of mental health problems in Europe, with more than one in six people across the European Union (EU) affected by mental health difficulties in 2016.
The Health at a Glance: Europe 2018 report, published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)/European Commission estimates the total cost of mental ill-health at over €600 billion, or more than 4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) across the 28 EU countries.
The authors say greater efforts to promote mental health and improve early diagnosis and treatment of those with mental illness would improve the lives of millions of Europeans and contribute to stronger economic and employment conditions.
"The heavy burdens of mental illness on individuals and society are not inevitable,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “While many European countries have put in place policies and programmes to address mental illness, much more can be done to promote and better manage mental health."
The report says programmes that foster good mental health including those reducing loneliness, encouraging social participation, building support structures, and interventions that can identify and respond to signs of mental distress, should be priorities for European countries.