Responsiveness of the health system to mental health needs

AP23 G 1030 BH 01 Assistenza

Analysis of the results published in the latest report Headway - A new roadmap in Mental Health (2023), an initiative created by Think Tank The European House – Ambrosetti in partnership with Angelini Pharma.

War, Climate Change, cost of living, and Covid-19. The term Polycrisis describes a scenario in which numerous major emergencies accumulate and amplify each other, with a significant impact not only on people's social and economic lives but also on their mental health. This last aspect is the focus of the Headway – Mental Health Index 3.0 realized by European House Ambrosetti and Angelini Pharma as part of our ongoing effort to foster interdisciplinary dialogue on mental health in Europe.


European Mental Health Crisis: Stigma, Isolation, and Urgent Access Barriers Revealed in Recent EU Poll

We begin with a simple data: a recent poll conducted by the European Union found that due to the current global crisis, 62% of Europeans have suffered mental health consequences, with 18% reporting that they have been greatly affected. In this scenario, access to mental healthcare is ever more important, but many factors hinder it, starting from the stigma and misinformation that surround the issue. For instance, according to the Report, 77% of people in EU-27 believe that mental health patients are treated differently by society, facing isolation, negative stereotypes, and self-stigmatization.


The Challenges of Mental Healthcare Accessibility in Europe

Addressing the complexity of this issue, an initial solution to this intricate problem would be to make mental healthcare easy, accessible, and patient-friendly. Yet, looking at the Report, it appears that the responsiveness from the healthcare system is still inadequate: an increasing number of healthcare workers are leaving their jobs, investments are low, and affordable and accessible services are scarce.

These metrics have a detrimental impact on the accessibility of treatment and support, resulting in alarming figures such as 67% of Europeans declaring that either themselves or one of their family members have had difficulties in accessing mental healthcare. Even more concerning is the revelation that 1 in 2 young individuals reports unmet mental health needs.


Transformative Mental Healthcare: Leading European Nations Outperforming with Innovative Policies and Positive Impact

It is then crucial for European Nations to invest in the creation of a more responsive mental healthcare system. Some countries are already making a difference, with France (13.9%), Germany (13.1%), and Sweden (10.0%) significantly exceeding (and skewing) the EU27+UK average of 5.4%. As for results, the positive impact of these policies is apparent! Germany, for instance, with an employment rate of 56.2% among people with severe mental distress, surpasses the EU27+UK average of 42.7% and ranks as the top performer among the countries assessed.