New Mental Health Research Recommends Need For Better Data, More Funding And A Stronger Focus On Employment Across Europe
A report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by Janssen
This first of its kind research explores the challenges of integrating Europeans with mental illness into society and employment within the European Union’s 28 Member States, plus Norway and Switzerland. Countries have been ranked according to their degree of commitment to support those living with mental illness. The findings demonstrate that while there are many examples of good practice across Europe, the whole region has a long way to go before people with mental illness are adequately supported and truly integrated into their communities.
The Mental Health Integration Index is based on a list of indicators including the environment for those with mental illness, their access to medical help and services, their opportunities – specifically job-related – and the governance of the system, including human rights issues and efforts to combat stigma. The indicators were developed in consultation with a panel of independent experts on mental health which included leaders of pan-European healthcare professional, patient, carer and research organisations.
Overall mental illness exacts a substantial human and economic toll on Europe, and has a substantial treatment gap
Germany’s strong healthcare system and generous social provision put it at the top of the index. The UK and Scandinavian states are not far behind
The leading countries are not the only sources of best practice in integrating those with mental illness
Employment is the field of greatest concern for those with mental illness, but also the area with the most inconsistent policies across Europe
Real investment separates those countries addressing the issue from those setting only aspirational policies
Europe is only in the early stages of the journey from institution- to community-based care
Lack of data makes greater understanding of this field difficult.
The report concludes that there are five key areas where many European countries need to focus in order to make a real and substantial impact on the social inclusion of people living with mental illness. This will include obtaining better data in all areas of medical and service provision and outcomes; backing up mental health policies with appropriate funding; finishing the now decades-old task of deinstitutionalisation; and focusing on the task of providing integrated, community-based services that include integrated employment services provision.