On October 2018 Mental Health Europe (MHE)- the mental health umbrella organization where Society of Social Psychiatry and Mental Health has been an active member- has published a position paper “on the Health Strand of ESF+” including MHE’s proposals for amendments to the relevant draft regulation, published by European Commission on May 2018.
The ESF+ (European Structural Funds) program-with a duration of seven years and a total budget of 101 billion euro- has something really important to demonstrate; first, its support to the principles of the Social Pillar, which are based on three key axes: equal opportunities and access to the labor market, fair working conditions, and social protection and inclusion. Second, the fact that fosters the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), promoting the same time the transition from institutional to family and community-based care, while discouraging any action that contributes to social exclusion or isolation.
Though, despite the fact that ESF+ takes the above mentioned promising steps and the reference to SDG 3 (United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals), mental health is not met as an objective of the Health Strand, a lack that constitutes a financial and political oversight.
Therefore, ΜΗΕ calls on the EU to include mental health and well-being in the Health Strand of the ESF+ considering mental health a key element for reaching the objectives of the ESF+. Given the persisting mental health gaps and problems in many countries across Europe and taking into account their wide range, their endurance and the preservation of mental health stigma/segregation that conflicts the European principle of inclusion, it becomes an imperative need for the European Parliament and the European Council to mainstream mental health and well-being and focus on human capital, if they really want to reach effectively the results set by the proposal.
For more information see MHE’s position paper “on the Health Strand of ESF+”
 For more information regarding ESF+ see https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/initiatives/com-2018-382_en (accessed 12 November 12 2018)