Mental Health Europe, an organisation bringing together mental health users, professionals and service providers have launched a call for better mental health policies across Europe. Mental health is an important issue to many older citizens as well.
The increase of mental health related issues at the workplace, such as pressure or work-related stress, also has a strong impact on older workers. It reduces the possibilities for longer working lives, at a time where there is a stronger focus on working longer to ensure adequate pensions. As people grow older, they might also face loneliness or depression. Many older persons also provide informal care to relatives in need for care and support: this can be a very heavy task and be accompanied by overburdening and social isolation. Last year, AGE member Vlaamse Ouderenraad took action against the non-reimbursement of mental health for older patients in Flanders, flagging a blatant case of age discrimination in access to mental health.
Mental Health Europe’s manifesto contains key elements that are important for better mental health provision to older persons:
- Bring mental health at the heart of EU policy making
- Support human rights compliant EU policies, such as through the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- Raise awareness on mental health and tackling stigma
- Support the transition from institutional to community-based care
- Invest in mental health research and implementation, focussing on prevention and promotion across the lifespan
- Ensure an EU coordinated mental health action
- Ensure increased transparence in mental health care and access to unbiased information in relation to the benefits and harm of psychiatric drugs
- Involve meaningfully independent mental health organisations and representative of organisations of (ex)users of mental health services at all stages of EU policy-making