Mental Health Europe
February 2016 Newsletter


This month I would like to draw your attention to how mental health is portrayed in the media. I think we all know how easily mental ill-health can equate to ‘mad, bad and dangerous', certainly in less esteemed publications. But even in more respectable outlets, there is often an inherent bias towards the biomedical model. Recently, the BBC, a UK-based news service with an international reach, ran a series called ‘In the Mind’. There were many inspiring first-person stories, and a laudable attempt to demystify mental ill-health. However, at the heart of it was a belief that mental ill-heath is predominantly caused by bio-medical factors. In response to this, Richard Bentall wrote a deeply personal and academic rigorous open letter to Stephen Fry . Peter Kinderman, the President of the British Psychological Society, and other clinicians, practitioners and people with lived experience, wrote a broader open letter to the BBC asking them to review their coverage of mental health, and urging people to sign it. Why is this important? Many of us may know to question certain media stories. However, the perceived respectability of a media platform can anchor the biomedical model as an irrefutable scientific truth. We at MHE believe in the possibility of recovery and the power of hope for everyone. Through our work on the Bucharest Manifesto, the consultation on DSM V and the revisions on ICD 10, we are fighting for alternative voices to be heard, and mental health to be understood in a wider, more human context. One of the ways in which we can achieve this is by influencing media coverage in individual members states. We will be working on a MHE template letter, which you will be able to send to your national news organisations, to press for change in how mental health is portrayed in your country. Please email me to share your thoughts on this.
Thank you for all  who have been in touch already, and for your warm welcome. Please do sign up for our General Assembly and Capacity Building Event- the details are below. I look forward to meeting you soon!
Best wishes

MHE News and Policy Work

EU Parliament hearing on the UN's recommandations to the EU

On 27 January, MHE participated in the European Parliament’s Public Hearing on the UN’s recommendations to the EU. MEPs together with Committees' rapporteurs and European DPOs have discussed the working document of the forthcoming INI Report on the Concluding Observations of the UNCRPD Committee. MHE Director Akiko Hart recalled the importance of including people with psychosocial disabilities in the report, and also raised concerns about art.12 on legal capacity as well as the role of the European parliament in the process of implementation. 

Horizon 2020 call for proposal: Promoting mental health and well-being in the youth 

Are you working with young people and adolescents? Are you interested in becoming a project partner and apply for the forthcoming Horizon 2020 call on the promotion of mental and well-being in the youth ? Proposals should develop population-oriented primary prevention interventions to promote mental well-being of young people and assess them for their effectiveness. Please contact us as soon as possible if you are interested in knowing more about a potential application for the call! 

MHE comments reflected in Eurostat's report

Back in November, we were informing you about our contribution to Eurostat Consultation on European social statistics. The points we raised mainly included the need for data to be broken down by disability groups and better reflection of the overall population. We were glad to find out that our concerns were noted in the outcome report where there are a few mentions about the need for more disaggregated data on disability. Find the report HERE. 

SAVE THE DATE: MHE General Assembly 22nd-23rd April

Have you saved the date(s)? MHE General Assembly will take place on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd of April 2016 in Brussels at Euroflat Hotel. MHE will be able to reimburse travel costs for members and will book rooms for you directly (unless you do not need accommodation). Please note that MHE will allow only one representative per member organisation. The number of places is limited and registrations will work on a first come first served basis so please let us know as soon as possible if you will be coming by sending us your name, surname and whether or not you will an hotel room on the nights of the 21st and 22nd of April. Once your registration is confirmed, you can go ahead and book your own travel. MHE will reimburse up to 250 EUR of travel, although we would ask that you book as early as possible to save costs.   MHE will provide participants  with breakfast, lunch and dinner on the night of the 22nd of April, and breakfast and lunch on the 23rd. Unless agreed otherwise, taxis to and from the airport/train station will not be reimbursed. Please note that we will be able to proceed with the reimbursement of travel costs only upon receipt of the 2016 MHE Membership fee. We are looking forward to seeing you  in Brussels! 

MHE press statement on euthanasia and mental health

Further to the Belgian Committee on bioethics' gathering to discuss whether safeguards should be put into place for euthanasia cases involving severe and enduring mental health problems, MHE has sent a reaction to the Belgian press. Please read it HERE (English) or HERE (French). MHE is now in contact with the Committee and will keep you informed about any new development. 

MHE in Maastricht to attend Presidency event

MHE attended an event organised by the Dutch Presidency in conjunction with the University of Maastricht on youth mental health. The discussions focused predominately on the need for more integrated and tailored services to ensure that youth mental health is catered for in the transition from child to young adult and that young people are listened to within these services. Speakers included Patrick McGorry of Headspace in Australia, WHO Europe and the European Commission.

Questionnaire on the ICD-10 revision

Further to the publication of MHE position paper on the revision of the most recent International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), we shared with you  a (very easy to fill) questionnaire on this occasion to seek the views of external stakeholders. To gather a considerable number of answers to this survey we are now extending the deadline until the 15th of February. You can answer this survey by following this 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 publishes its own Glossary 

Mental Health Europe has published its own Glossary! The language we use when talking about mental health is crucial so we have put together a glossary of mental health and policy terms which we hope you will find helpful in your everyday work.This glossary gives definitions of the terms used by MHE Secretariat on a regular basis. You can find a printable version of this glossary HERE or you can just visit the policy>glossary section of our website.
What is Recovery ? Mental Health Europe

Have you watched our video on recovery? 

Last month we released our new video on recovery from mental health problems. Have you watched it yet? If not, please do! And do not hesitate to share it among your contacts to raise awareness of recovery from mental health problems. 
What is Recovery ? Mental Health Europe

New infographic: Are you a member yet?

We just published a new infographic about the advantages of being a member of Mental Health Europe. Have a look at it HERE.
MHE & Shoot4Change project: interested in sharing your dreams? 

Mental Health Europe and Shoot4Change are launching a visual art project to raise awareness against stigma caused by mental distress. The project will combine photography and painting to show that whoever we are, our dreams are both unique and universal. We are actively looking for people who experience/have experienced mental distress and who would like to share their dream with the artist Daniela Vezzoler who will represent the dreams through her abstract paintings! Please note that you may remain anonymous if you want to. Please read the full description of the project HERE. And contact us for further information. 
[Reminder] UseCandor: improving MHE membership interaction ! 

Last month we introduced the online brainstorming tool USECANDOR, which is an online platform helping groups to generate ideas. Please CLICK HERE to find out how to use USECANDOR and start using it AS OF TODAY! The first brainstorm we launched last month focuses on the current refugees, migrants and asylum seekers' crisis . Please join it by registering and following this link

EDF initial response to the European Accessibility Act

In December, the European Commission finally published the  long awaited European Accessibility Act (EEA), whose main objective is to harmonise EU-wide legislation on the accessibility of products and services in the internal market for person with disabilities, including persons with psychosocial disabilities. MHE welcomed the European Accessibility Act and took some time to review it before sending our contribution to the European Disability Forum, which we are member of. Read more about our contribution and EDF's initial reponse HERE.
News from EU institutions and other bodies

OECD launches call for initiatives on the refugee crisis

The OECD LEED Programme has launched a Call for Initiativesto collect information on local responses to the refugee crisis: from initial reception to longer term integration. The call focuses on actions and programmes implemented at a local level by public authorities and agencies as well as NGO’s, social economy organisations, refugee councils. It can also include local actions and programmes organised through national and international networks. If you would like to contribute please follow this link or contact Deadline for submission is 29 April 2016

EU Compass: deadline extended!

The first survey for the re-launched EU Compass for Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing has been extended for two weeks - until the 8th of March.  The EU-Compass for Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing is a mechanism to collect, exchange and analyse information on policy and stakeholder activities in mental health. Please do fill the survey in as your own organisation if you haven't done it yet, and if possible mention that you are a member of MHE! 

Special rapporteur's report on participation in decision-making

We welcome the publication of the Special Rapporteur Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Catalina Devandas's report on the right of persons with disabilities to participate in decision-making. The report mentions people with psychosocial disabilities as a group in particular need of inclusion and representation in decision-making. You can read the report HERE. 

Example of human-right based approach in Sweden

MHE  attended a meeting organised by Region Västra Götaland Brussels Office and the City of Gothenburg European Office where MEP Cecilia Wikstrom, member of our Coalition for Mental Health and Well Being was speaking. The City of Gothenburg presented results from a pilot project demonstrating what it means to work practically and systematically with human rights at regional level and what impact the human rights based approach has had on individuals. One of the targets of the pilot project was a psychiatric ward,  and results showed a huge decrease in the use of coercion following on from the project.  This is very positive evidence showing that human rights training makes an impact on the ground.  If you are interested, please have a look at this 33min documentary on the project. Before watching it, please note that  there is a very detailed description in the beginning of the use of restraint and straps, which may be triggering for some viewers.
News from MHE members
New section: what are you up to?

We will never say it enough: our members are our strength! MHE is proud of its very diverse membership including user organisations, volunteers and professional organisations as well as service providers working at regional, national and European level. Each month, we will feature one of our members in this new Member Spotlight - What are you up to section.  To see yourself in the spotlight, just email us so we can arrange a phone meeting and discuss what you are up to!  It only takes a minute and we would love to hear from you. 
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.
Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can 
update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list