Understanding the Importance of Mental Health
Even today, mental health issues are branded with a high level of stigma although it has a profound impact on the individual and society as a whole. Negative perceptions that stigmatize mental health issues may discourage and prevent individuals to seek help. This combined with poor access to mental health care services leads to significant public health issues, not to forget the economic costs to society, including healthcare costs, lost productivity, and reduced economic growth. To begin with, mental health is a public health issue affecting a person’s overall well-being, quality of life, and productivity and is of vital importance to both individuals and societies.
Mental wellness in our society
Poor mental health and disorders are major public health problem that influences people’s social relationships leading to social isolation, physical health problems, and reduced performance at school and work.
A distinct relationship between mental health and substance misuse has been recognized, as people with mental health issues consume substances, such as tobacco, alcohol, and drugs, that harm their health at higher rates. Such high-risk behavior coupled with physical inactivity correlates with mental health and impacts physical wellness as well, which leads to a risk of developing cardiac disease, hypertension, stroke, and diabetes. In other words, mental health directly relates to lower life expectancy and the probability to develop chronic physical conditions. To complicate the access to appropriate health services, psychiatry is often separated from other medical specialties, which coupled with inadequate training contributes to a lack of attention to the management of co-morbidities.
inXso is organizing an action to promote Mental Wellness Innovation.
We would like to invite all professionals innovating in Mental Health to network with each other and promote mental wellness.
Please stay tuned!
Mental Wellness in the Wake of the Pandemic
The full impact of the pandemic on mental health is not well known, and opinions may be conflicting depending on the studies conducted.
However, according to a scientific fact sheet published by the World Health Organization (WHO), the pandemic has “caused a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide” in the first year alone. The vulnerability of young people and women to the stressors of the pandemic has been recognized. Such stress factors as social isolation, fear of infection and death, grief, and economic distress, have caused collective mental health strain.
The restrictions during the pandemic caused a burden on mental health on two levels; just when mental health services were most needed socially, they were disrupted as healthcare was already under extreme strain. This occurred at a time when mental health services were already inadequate globally, underlining the fact that little attention has been paid to the impact of mental health at the individual and societal levels.
It is no wonder that EU policymakers have paid attention to mental health resilience at a different level than before the pandemic.
Investing in Mental Health Resilience
In response, the European Commission and MEPs have called for increased spending in research and innovation activities to increase mental health resilience through support for mental health services, mental health supporting R&I activities, and society as a whole.
The calls for proposals to support activities to promote mental health resilience include providing access to evidence-based, innovative, cost-effective, and large-scale strategies for mental health promotion and prevention. It also aims to reduce the stigma and marginalization of people with mental illness and to provide citizens with new tools and services to make informed choices about their mental health care needs. The impact of climate change, environmental degradation, and digitalization on mental health have been recognized, as well as the need to address emerging risks associated with these changes.
The EU is also working to promote mental health through initiatives such as the Workplace Mental Health Campaign and the European Pact for Mental Health and Well-being, which aim to address the social determinants of mental health and promote mental health as a priority in policymaking.
R&I projects improving mental health resilience must contribute robust evidence on the feasibility, acceptability, and personal satisfaction of digital health technologies (DHTs) in people with mental disorders and to the development of flexible, interoperable, and reusable digital platforms. Effective guidelines for the development and implementation of DHT in clinical research and practice are also needed, as well as robust knowledge about mental disorders and the development of digital tools to optimize engagement and reliability.
Towards a Comprehensive Mental Health Approach
Mental health is essential for a healthy and productive life. Poor mental health can have negative consequences, including physical health problems, reduced performance, social isolation, and reduced life satisfaction. Mental disorders are a major public health problem and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this situation. The European Union recognizes the need for increased support for mental health services, research, and innovation in response to the impact of the pandemic. The EU is also working to promote mental health through initiatives such as the Workplace Mental Health Campaign and the European Pact for Mental Health and Well-being. Addressing mental health is crucial to improving overall well-being, quality of life, and productivity.