Hearing: Setting standards - Discussing health inequalities in the context of the European Year of Citizens. A spotlight on mental health and homelessness. Hosted by Kinga Göncz MEP, 13th November 2012 (14.00 – 17.00) at the European Parliament, Room Paul-Henri Spaak P7C050
Organised by European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless and the Mental Health Europe (FEANTSA) and Mental Health Europe (MHE) the hearing will disscuss how, the discourse around the European Year of Citizens 2013 fails to acknowledge the deep inequalities still present in EU Member States, such as health inequalities. This hearing will discuss inclusive citizenship from the viewpoint of homeless people with mental health problems. Raising awareness of the discrimination and lack of access to health care often experienced by this group, it will present tools to prevent mental health problems in persons who are homeless. Most importantly, the hearing will underline the idea that the European Year 2013 cannot be developed in a vacuum – active citizenship depends on active inclusion, and a fair democratic society cannot be achieved without the guarantee of a minimum standard of living.
About the Hearing
Rights. Knowledge. Freedom. The buzzwords of the European Year of Citizens 2013 underline a discourse centred around free movement. The main issues gravitate towards informing European Union citizens about their rights, debating the obstacles to fully access them, and promoting a more engaged democratic society.
However, the discussion seems to lack one crucial element - acknowledging the deep inequalities still present in all EU Member States. As participation in the society fundamentally begins at local level, no relevant talk of European citizenship or free movement can commence before the issues of inequalities and exclusion are addressed. Solidarity, human rights and non-discrimination are at the core of European values. Inequalities and social exclusion cannot be omitted when discussing participation in the society.
One of major inequalities that hinders people’s in full participation are health inequalities. Health status has been repeatedly linked to socio-economic status through a bi-directional relationship. Whilst healthcare plays the key role in public health, access to healthcare is not evenly spread across the population: people living in poverty tend to have greater healthcare needs, but also experience more difficulties in accessing healthcare. People who are affected by this the most are those experiencing the highest level of exclusion, among them people with mental health problems that are homeless.
PROGRAMME- Hearing (3th November 2012, from 14.00 to 17.00) Setting standards - Discussing health inequalities in the context of the European Year of Citizens.
Related to this topic, a coalition of civil society organisations urged Member States to support the most deprived in Europe - read the full statement.
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