How can we get better mental healthcare in the EU? Researchers and policy makers around the world are working hard to determine which reforms can work — and which most likely will not.
An important WHO and Fountain House study reveals that people with depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses still die on average 20 years younger than the general population in Europe.
The great majority of these deaths are not due to a specific cause (such as suicide) but rather to their link with unidentified and unmanaged non-communicable diseases. Due to the complexity of mental health diagnosis and data collection, around half of all people with mental health problems do not receive evidence-based treatments. This treatment gap is also a threat to health system sustainability, with direct and indirect medical costs of more than €450 billion per year in the EU.
To answer this crisis and improve mental health outcomes, member states have collaborated with international organisations such as WHO or the OECD on implementation of national policies and plans.
Sweden has made impressive strides on this overlooked health problem. The government introduced a new national mental health strategy for 2016-2020, which focuses on bridging the mental health treatment gap through prevention and awareness, accessibility to care and greater emphasis on vulnerable groups. In 2017, the Public Health Agency of Sweden reinforced mental health as a priority with new goals including “compiling, analysing, and disseminating knowledge to support health promotion and preventive health work” in close contact with other governmental agencies, regions, county councils, and municipalities to ensure a nation-wide change.
Swedish healthcare legislation was also updated, making municipalities responsible for the care of people with psychological disorders and for providing support and services for people released from hospital care as well as for school mental healthcare. We can already see the Swedish system of mental health care is having effect: according to the OECD, Swedes are 10 per cent more likely on average to consult a healthcare provider for a mental health problem compared to other OECD countries.
Researchers and policy makers need to look closely at Sweden’s experience, sizing up both its benefits and its limitations.
What can other countries learn from the country? How can we take these lessons and apply them more broadly across Europe? What are the next steps to be taken for a widely spread mental health prevention?And is there research or technology that can help patients manage their conditions and help recovery?
This high-level roundtable will explore its expert participants’ experiences, good practices, as well as forward-looking recommendations on how to improve health outcomes for patients and all other actors in mental health systems.
12:15 - Registration & buffet lunch
13:00 - Welcome & introduction
13:10 - Policy priorities: How can we ensure that mental health remains central to Europe’s new healthcare agenda?
Opening perspectives from:
- Birgitta Sacrédeus – Chairwoman, Interregional Group on Health and Wellbeing, European Committee of the Regions (Sweden)
- Artur Furtado – Deputy Head of Unit, Health Programmes and Chronic Diseases, DG SANTE, European Commission
- Kerstin Evelius – National Coordinator, Development in Mental Health
- Susanne Nordling – President of Psychiatry & Mental Health, Region Stockholm
Our opening session will focus on the state of the art around mental health in the public policy domain. In recent years, governments have begun to appreciate the huge societal and economic costs linked to mental illness, but in many countries have future health systems and services.
14:15 - Coffee break
14:30 - Mental clarity: Education for a better outcome
Opening perspectives from:
- Lise Bergman Nordgren – Coordinator, Swedish National Quality Registries in Psychiatry; Program Director, Psychologist Program, Linköping University
- Barbro Ronsten – Federal Chairman, Swedish National Association for Social and Mental Health
- Tom van Daele – Head of Expertise Unit, Psychology, Technology & Society, Thomas More University; Coordinator, eMen
- Tomas Bokström, Head of Social & Health Impact Center, Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE)
This session will therefore focus on the education, patient experiences and research dimensions of mental health: Can patient advocacy and communication of lived experiences help reduce stigma? What are the priorities for improving mental health literacy? How can the training gap for primary care professionals be overcome, and next generations properly prepared? What are the prospects for more integrative care, incorporating mental health assessments with physical diagnosis? How should patient-reported outcomes be assessed? And where can future research add the greatest value?
15:30 - Coffee break
15:45 - Smart outcomes: Harnessing technology to treat and prevent mental health conditions
Opening perspectives from:
- Madeline Balaam – Associate Professor, Media Technology & Interaction Design, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
- Niclas Wijkström – CEO, Mimerse
- Daniel Månsson – CEO and Founder, Flow Neuroscience
The final session will explore one of the more exciting, if controversial aspects of healthcare futures, namely: the prospects for new technologies to enhance the quality of life, prevention, care and outcomes by using Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and more resources. In our digital world, could this be the solution to democratise mental healthcare?
16:50 - Conclusions
High level reflections and recommendations on the future priorities for policy, research and innovation from:
- Birgitta Sacredeus – Chairwoman, Interregional Group on Health and Wellbeing, European Committee of the Regions (Sweden)
17:00 - End of roundtable, followed by short networking reception
For more information on this event, please contact Lysiane Pons (firstname.lastname@example.org).