Mental Health Europe
December 2015 Newsletter


Dear readers,
The month of December was filled with positive events, including MHE’s yearly capacity-building event for members, which we coupled with a successful hearing in the European Parliament on the theme of employment. An appreciated empowerment seminar for (ex)users of psychiatry was also organised together with
ENUSP and we are really pleased that the collaboration between our two organisations is gaining importance.
When writing this, I feel joy as I think that the year of 2015 was a very fruitful one for MHE and the future looks bright for mental health in Europe despite many challenges at the political level. However, I also feel a little bit sad since I am working my last days at MHE. I  will be away during the year of 2016 and will be replaced by Ms Akiko Hart during my absence. Akiko is an experienced manager in the mental health and NGO sectors. At the moment she works for Mind in Camden and is the project manager for all of the London ‘Hearing Voices’ and ‘Unusual Beliefs’ projects. Akiko will be supported by my dedicated colleagues and by our many Member Organisations. I am convinced that MHE is in good hands in the year to come!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for 2016!
Maria Nyman
MHE News and Policy Work

MEP Helga Stevens (ECR) joins our Coalition for Mental Health and Well-being

MHE is pleased to announce that Helga Stevens MEP (ECR) becomes a new member of our Coalition for Mental Health and Well-being! We would like to thank Ms Stevens for joining us, and we are looking forward to a fruitful collaboration! The main objective of the Coalition is to ensure that mental health remains high on the EU agenda, and we would like to kindly remind our members that they are invited to contact their own MEPs to invite them to join our Coalition! Let's build a strong coalition for mental health !

MHE special paper in the British Journal of Psychiatry

MHE Senior Policy adviser Bob Grove contributed to the British Journal of Psychiatry with a special paper on International employment schemes for people with mental health problems. The article interestingly outlines and examines the different forms of employment schemes such as sheltered work, vocational training, transitional employment (or work experience) and supported employment. Read the full paper HERE. 

MHE in Paris to present on the link between physical and mental health

On 7 December, MHE was in Paris to participate in a conference organised by AGAPSY on "Training and Jobs in the field of Mental Health". It was an opportunity to learn more about the French situation with regard to mental health, but also to hear about the successful outcomes of the ERASMUS + project "Tutorat Européen en Psychiatrie et Santé Mentale". MHE gave a presentation on the European perspectives of mental health, the link between mental and physical health as well as the importance of European cooperation. 
utorat européen en psychiatrie et santé mentale
Questionnaire on ICD-10 Position Paper

Last month, MHE  published a position paper on the revision of the most recent International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). We are now seeking the views of our members as well as external stakeholders. Before you leave the office this festive season, we would like to invite you to  answer the questionnaire that MHE "BBP Taskforce" recently launched on the ICD-10 Revision, available at the following link: Please only fill out the questionnaire if you feel comfortable doing so as the content could be challenging for those who are unfamiliar with the process. 
MHE Response to the public consultation on EU citizenship

MHE submitted a response to the EU public consultation on EU Citizenship which we mentioned in our previous newsletter. The response was submitted as civil society organisation through a policy perspective and highlights some of the issues that our members, particularly persons with mental health problems or psychosocial disabilities, face as citizens in the EU. If you would like further information about MHE response please contact ophelie.martin[a] 
EU Alliance against Disability Cuts 

On the 2nd of December, the EU Alliance against disability cuts, of which MHE has been a long time member, held an open meeting in the European Parliament hosted by MEP Richard Howitt (S&D). The event provided an opportunity to take stock of the difficult conditions in which many persons with disabilities find themselves after substantial cuts were applied by national governments to their allowances and support services. Undoubtedly the economic crisis in Europe affected all European citizens, however, the most severely and disproportionately hit were and unfortunately still are disabled people. Ms Anastasia Tovi from the Greek Society on Social Psychiatry and Mental Health represented MHE at this meeting and made a presentation about her personal experience as a mental health service user and how, since 2010, austerity measures have had a dramatic and negative impact on her life.. Read ENIL and MHE Joint Press release written on this occasion HERE. READ MORE...

MHE Press Release: International Day of People with disabilities

3 December 2015 was the international Day of People with disabilities. On this occasion, MHE published a press release to recall that 1 in 4 people in Europe will be faced with a mental health problem in their life time, and that many of these people will be considered to be persons with disabilities and will face many barriers to the full enjoyment of their rights. The press release also welcomed the European Accessibility Act mentioned later in this newsletter. Please read the full press release HERE. 

MHE event in the European Parliament

Mental Health Europe held its annual event in the European Parliament on "The Role of employment in the lives of people with mental health problems" on the 10th of December 2015.The event was kindly co-hosted by three MEPS:  MEP Marian Harkin (ALDE), MEP Liadh NÍ RIADA (GUE/NGL), and MEP Sirpa PIETIKÄINEN (EPP). Key speakers from the OECD, the European Commission as well as the Work Foundation gave presentations. We were also pleased to have our Board members Stephanie Wooley and Guadalupe Morales sharing their own experiences. READ MORE...

MHE Capacity Building Seminar in Brussels

On 9th-11th December 2015, Mental Health Europe held its annual Capacity Building Seminar in Brussels. We were delighted to have more than 45 members coming to represent their own organisations, and we were glad to have so many countries represented, which enabled lot of discussions and exchange of best practices. MHE members had a busy programme ahead of them including presentations and discussions on the implementation of the UN CRPD, access to healthcare and mental health services, deinstitutionalisation across Europe and community-based approaches, advocating for mental health at national and European level as well as specific workshops on social media, the clubhouse model and the use of statistics. Thank you to all who came to Brussels, and see you in 2016 for a very active year! 
Call for interest: sharing your dreams!

From January 2016 onwards, MHE will start a collaboration with Shoot4change, an NGO gathering photographers, designers, artists and other dreamers who want to raise awareness about stories and social issues that are sometimes overlooked by mainstream media. For this specific project, painter Daniela Vazzoler will create abstract paintings based on the dreams of people with mental health problems. The objective? Combatting stigma by showing that people with mental health problems have the same dreams as anyone else! MHE hope you will like the idea, and would like to invite you to contact if you would like to participate (or receive further information), or if you know someone who would be interested to participate in the project! 
European annual disability conference: spotlight on psychosocial disability 

On the occasion of the European Day of Persons with Disabilities (7-8 December), the European Commission and the European Disability Forum co-organised a two-day conference in Brussels with around 200 participants from all over Europe. The conference focused on the current situation of children and young people with disabilities and their access to education as a key factor for their participation in society. Participants of the conference included young people with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, representatives of organisations of persons with disabilities, government representatives and academics. A number of MHE members attended the event. As part of the event, a clip from the Documentary Ida’s diary,  a film about a young woman with severe mental health problems, was presented by the producer of the film. A presentation also followed which highlighted the need for more awareness-raising at European level about this hidden disability, as well as working towards dismantling of discrimination and stigma associated with it. 

MHE in Strasbourg at the Disability Intergroup

On 17 November , MHE was at the European Parliament in Strasbourg to participate in the Disability Intergroup, chaired by Helga Stevens MEP. MHE was delighted to see that around 20 MEPs attended the intergroup. Together with other Disabled People Organisations (DPOs), it was the opportunity to share our views on the CRPD Committee Concluding observations and to share our hopes for the upcoming INI report to be released at the end of January 2016.

Strenghtening the (ex) user/survivor voice in Europe

On December 13-15, a highly appreciated seminar was organised through collaboration between MHE and the European Network of (ex)Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP) . 22 members from 16 different countries gathered around the theme “Strengthening the (ex) user/survivor voice in Europe”. MHE wishes to continue to strengthen the collaboration between our two organisations as we share a lot of common ground and convictions!

Christmas Time at MHE  and Happy Festive Season to all! 

As every year, MHE celebrated Christmas around a nice lunch, followed by a ceramic workshop: a relaxing activity with well-know benefits for one's mental health! We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our members and readers a Merry christmas and Happy New Year! We are looking forward to starting with you a new year full of exciting projects! MHE Staff would also like to thank our director Maria Nyman for her support, and wish her best of luck for the year to come!
News from EU institutions and other bodies

European Commission proposes the European Accessibility Act

On December 3, the EU Commission has proposed the long awaited  European Accessibility Act, a key reform which was recommended by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in its Concluding Observations to the EU. As stated in our press release, MHE  will be looking at the text closely  in order to contribute to the planned public consultation on this new important draft legislation. Persons with psychosocial disabilities face accessibility barriers in many areas of life including lack of access to basic services such as a bank account due to the denial of their legal capacity, inability to use products which are not designed with them in mind and difficulty in using services which deny them the right to be accompanied by a support person. Therefore, MHE hopes that this legislation will help to make Europe more inclusive and accessible for all including those with less visible disabilities such as psychosocial disabilities. 

Horizon 2020 call for proposal : Mental Health and well-being in the youth

In october, Horizon 2020 -  the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation- published its work programme for 2016-2017. A call for proposal on  Promoting mental health and well-being in the young was published, and we would like to invite our members or any other interested stakeholder to have a look at it HERE. Proposals should develop population-oriented primary prevention and interventions to promote mental well-being of young people and assess them for their effectiveness. Opening: 29/07/2016 - Deadline: 4/10/2016

Guidance note on mental health and psychosocial support for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants on the move in Europe 

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and (Mental Health & Psychosocial Network) recently published a very interesting a Multi-Agency Guidance Note entitled “Mental Health and Psychosocial Support for Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants on the Move in Europe”. This brief guidance note seeks to provide advice on protecting and supporting the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants in Europe. It describes key principles and appropriate interventions to guide all those who are designing and organising emergency services and/or providing direct assistance to the affected people. You can find the full note HERE. 

EU Commission public consultation on work-life balance 

The EU Commission has launched a public consultation on how to improve work-life balance and reduce obstacles to women's participation in the labour market. This consultation follows the recent withdrawal of the Commission's 2008 proposal to amend the Maternity Leave Directive. The Commission has committed to replacing the withdrawn proposal with a 'new start' initiative in its Work Programme for 2016. If you would like to contribute to the online consultation, you do it HERE. The deadline for responses is 17 February 2016.
News from MHE members
MHE in Germany at DGSP Conference

MHE Board member Guadalupe Morales (Fundacion Mundo Bipolar, Spain) was in Trier, Germany last month to speak at the DGSP  annual conference about community and psychiatry. Guadalupe shared european perspectives of mental health from policy and human rights perspectives, and also presented the work of MHE and explained how cooperation at EU level works.  

Kinapsi elects a new board

Our Greek member organisation  KINAPSI held its Annual General Assembly in November in Athens. On this occasion, a new board was elected whose President is now  Evangelos (Akis) Asprogerakas and Vice - President Panagiotis Chalikeras. We wish them and the rest of the new elected board best of luck in advocating  for mental health and well-being for the coming years! 

Society of Social Psychiatry and Mental Health featured in the Huffington Post 

Our Greek member organisation the Social Psychiatry and Mental Health Scientific Association was featured in the The Huffington Post about their pilot program to protect and promote the rights of those with mental health problems. Three months ago, the organisation opened Greece's first office dedicated to advising mental health patients on legal issues in Greece. Read the full article HERE

An online platform to measure recovery goals

Our Israelian member organisation Makshivim Net developed an online platform called the ARPackage, which consists in  an online software connecting the organisation's e-projects in different fields of recovery for persons with mental health problems such as stress control, employment...Each e-project integrates a technological module to reach specific recovery objectives. Do not hesitate to have look at the platform HERE. If you wish to receive further information, please contact ophelie.martin[a] who will put you in touch.
Would you like to contribute to this newsletter or share any remark ? Please contact us!
Would you like to contribute to this newsletter or share any remark ? Please contact us!
This publication is supported by the European Union Programme for Rights, Equality and Citizenship.
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