IDF Europe - Mental and Physical Health Platform

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The Platform Chairwoman MEP Dr. Antonyia Parvanova submitted a written Parliamentary Question to the European Commission on the Rights and life chances of people with mental health disorders. The question, which was tabled on 26 July, aimed to highlight that people with mental health disorders face significant economic, professional, societal and medical challenges in their day-to-day lives. The answer to the question is attached for your reference.

In parallel, Dr. David McDaid, from the London School of Economics, is also conducting health economics research on the costs of comorbidities in Europe. David has outlined the findings in a Briefing Paper (attached), which was distributed at the 14th European Health Forum Gastein in Austria on 5-8 October. His work will continue to explore the costs that comorbidities represent on the economies of Europe, and could justify a call for more targeted action from policy-makers.

Finally, GAMIAN Europe are launching a patient survey among their members to assess the impact of physical problems on the lives of people with mental health problem(s). The survey is available in 20 languages and will run until the end of this year. These results will be presented by GAMIAN in the course of 2012 and will give the views of people living with mental health problems as regards their physical health. [update October 2011]

At the European Parliament, thanks to GAMIAN's conviction and Dr. Parvanova's leadership as one of the co-chairs of the Mental Health Interest Group, the link to physical health has been chosen as one of the key topics to be considered by the Mental Health Interest Group. Likewise, the European Commission's DG SANCO has provided invaluable support in recognising the work of the Platform - not only by posting the Charter and Call to Action on its 'Compass' website, but also by considering the physical health dimension in the upcoming thematic conference on stigma and mental health (8-9 November). The associations of the Platform have, collectively, signed a support statement of the European Commission's Pact and we look forward to continuing to work together.

In clinical practice, the highlight of the past year has been the publication of the joint statement by EPA, EASD and ESC of the increased CVD and diabetes risk of people with a mental illness. Now the publication provides an even stronger base for many of our policy messages and reinforces the need for action.[updated November 2010]