By Asmau Ahmad
The European Commission announced on Wednesday that it will support various mental health initiatives with 1.23 billion euros ($1.32 billion).
“Mental health is as important to our well-being as physical health,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.”
The commission aimed to put mental health at par with physical health by focusing on prevention, access to mental healthcare and treatment and reintegration after recovery, according to a press release.
The move came after the coronavirus pandemic negatively affected the psychological well-being of many Europeans, the commission said.
“We need to break down stigma and discrimination so that those in need can reach out and receive the support they need,” said EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides.
“It is ok not to be ok, and it is our duty to ensure that everyone asking for help has access to it,” Kyriakides said.
Vulnerable persons, including children and people fleeing the war in Ukraine, were to benefit in particular from the extra funding.
The commission also aimed to promote mental well-being at work.
“Around half of European workers consider stress to be common in their workplace and it contributes to around half of all lost working days,” said EU Commissioner for Jobs Nicolas Schmit.
The commission estimates that not improving mental health in the bloc costs 600 billion euros per year.