The objectives of the conference were as follows:

- Raise visibility about the importance of promoting mental health and well-being and of preventing mental disorders in children and young people
- Enable an exchange at EU-level on policy activities, good practices by stakeholders and research projects in Member States, supported by a Commission database;
- Endorse an implementation framework for the Mental Health Pact in the field of mental health in youth and education.

The opening plenary session set the scene for the conference, with representatives from the Swedish Presidency, the Commission, the Party of European Socialists and the European Youth Forum taking the floor. Andrzej RYS, Director for Public Health and Risk Assessment at the European Commission, presented the EU-framework for promoting mental health and well-being in children and young people, within the context of the wider implementation phase of the European pact on mental health and well-being. He also presented the European Framework for Action, comprising of essential actions in five key areas for mental health and well-being. The Framework aims to provide non-binding but authoritative guidance to policy makers and stakeholders across the EU. Finally, Mr Rys outlined the steps to be completed after this conference, and mentioned forthcoming events. These included the revision and dissemination of the action framework, the provision of implementation statements by member states and organisations, the further development of the EU Compass for Action on Mental Health and Well-being, and a final summary in 2011 of all the thematic conferences and other activities under the Pact

The conference was structured around five sub-themes:

- Parents, family and the early years
- The role of health services in promotion and prevention
- The community environment
- The role of media, internet and electronic games
- Educational settings and learning

For each sub-themes of this conference, a group of scientific advisors prepared a brief background document. This document included a statement with key messages and areas for action. Following the parallel sessions, a series of key messages were developed for each sub-theme. Please find these key messages outlined below

Parents, family and the early years

- Support of parenting through adequate paid parental leave and benefits packages (for fathers as well as mothers)
- High quality childcare with staff- pupil ratio, qualifications and specific training targets
- Early, supportive and targeted interventions for high risk groups and families
- Training for relevant professionals in infant, child and youth mental health and good parenting techniques

The role of health services in promotion and prevention

- Multidisciplinary and inter-sectoral infrastructures with a variety of entry points to prevention and promotion services
- Universal, community based and whole family approach in mental health services for adults
- Mental health promotion for children with chronic and /or severe somatic illness, their parents and siblings

The community environment

- Empower young people and involve them in the community decision and actions
- Urban planning considering the easy availability of leisure arenas for children and young people
- Facilitating the smooth transition of young people into the employment
- Participation in structured activities with emphasis on skill building
- Awareness raising against youth discrimination of related to social status, ethnic background and religion or sexual orientation
- Training of community actors in contact with children and young people

The role of media, internet and electronic games

- Use new media for mental health promotion through the development of e-mental health promotion sites with reliable information on risk issues
- Using the expertise of industry players and service providers
- Include media literacy into school curriculum and into the training of teachers and parents
- Appointment and training of youth ambassadors and support of peer learning in media literacy

Educational settings and learning

- Include social and emotional learning programmes and life skill education in preschool and school settings
- Development of national action plans on mental health promotion in educational settings
- High quality and easily available psycho-social support for pupils, students and teachers
- Assure cooperation between educational settings, parents and communities
- Non-formal and informal learning opportunities developed within, around and outside educational settings

For more information

- DG SANCO Mental Health and Well-being
- Swedish Presidency

EPHA related articles

- MHE convenes a conference on "Diversity in mental health and well-being"
- article 3028
- Gender differences highlighted at workshop on mental health
- Round table on Mental Health in Europe: ’Fighting Stigma and Social Exclusion’ - 6 November 2008

Last modified on December 11 2009.