Combating stress and depression-related problems
Stress and depression-related problems have become issues of great concern for all age groups. The challenge is all the greater in that the phenomenon has major social and economic repercussions. The Council conclusions presented below therefore call for the implementation of actions to prevent stress and depression-related problems and to promote mental health.
Council conclusions of 15 November 2001 on combating stress and depression-related problems [Official Journal C 6 of 09.01.2002].
These conclusions tie in with the Council resolution of 18 November 1999 on the promotion of mental health, which invited the Commission to consider incorporating activities on the theme of mental health into a future public health action programme. Thus, the decision of 23 September 2002 adopting the public health action programme 2003-2008 emphasises that the overall aim of the programme is to contribute towards the attainment of a high level of physical and mental health and well-being. The programme also provides for the preparation and implementation of mental health strategies and measures through action on health determinants.
A widespread phenomenon
Stress and depression-related problems are of major importance to all age groups and are significant contributors to the burden of disease and loss of quality of life within the European Union.
Effects of stress and depression
The challenge is all the greater in that stress and depression-related problems are common and have an impact in numerous areas. Among other things, they cause human suffering, increase the risk of social exclusion and increase mortality. Also, their economic impact on society must not be overlooked.
Promotion and prevention
While there are effective methods to prevent stress and depression-related problems, there is a need to further develop research and methods for intervention, in order to promote mental health and to prevent stress and depression.
Mental health must be promoted through actions across all relevant policies and activities, particularly as regards stress and depression determinants. Likewise, strategies must be developed for tackling stress and depression-related problems.
Actions at Member State level
The Council invites the Member States to:
- give due attention to the impact of stress and depression-related problems in all age groups and ensure that these problems are recognised; in this context, give special attention to the increasing problem of work-related stress and depression;
- take actions to improve knowledge on the promotion of mental health and the prevention of stress and depression-related problems in primary care and other health services as well as in social services;
- collect good quality data on stress and depression-related problems and share them with other Member States and the Commission;
- develop, implement and evaluate actions to prevent stress and depression-related problems, and promote exchanges of good practice and joint projects within the Member States.
Actions at Commission level
The Council invites the Commission, in the context of the programmes of action in the field of public health, to:
- facilitate the collection of comparable data on the characteristics, determinants and causes of stress and depression;
- consider undertaking activities on the theme of stress and depression-related problems, such as facilitating exchange of information, experience, and good practices concerning recognition, prevention and monitoring of stress and depression-related problems;
- consider opportunities to prevent stress and depression in the definition and implementation of relevant Community policies and activities intended to complement national policies;
- consider developing strategies for the prevention of stress and depression-related problems.