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In 2019 the EFPC Mental Working Group produced their statement:

“There is a need for a paradigm shift in mental health delivery. Primary Care has a central role to achieve this, being key to the development of comprehensive services and rooted in communities. These services offer local solutions in an integrated and coordinated way that enable access to prevention, early intervention, treatment, rehabilitation and recovery (WHO, 2018).
This will be achieved through placing people and their communities at the centre of design, implementation, delivery and evaluation of mental health services, systems and policies. Mental health must be managed in the community in a holistic, compassionate manner and requires support at a government level to achieve this.”

For a full text with 14 chapters, please check the EFPC statement- Mental Health.

The Mental Health Working Group continues its’ work supported by the PRIMORE project, partly working on new webinars, workshops and a scientific paper for an international peer reviewed journal and using the PIE platform for its’ discussion with international stakeholders.

In 2017 the EFPC was invited to provide a response via the EU health policy platform for the first version of a draft joint statement for Mental Health prepared by Mental Health Europe. The Working Group succeeded to include a special chapter on Primary Care which was endorsed by a large range of European networks. Please read the joint-statement on mental health-final with endorsements.

The  Working Group gathers every year at the annual conference of the EFPC. Last year a meeting was held in Nantere as part of the PRIMORE project on interprofessional Primary Care research. The session was chaired by Lisa Hill, Ian Walton and Jan De Lepeleire.

Report of the Mental Health WG of the 2014 Barcelona workshop and respond if you want to join their activities!

During the last two decades, two opposing views have been debated in Europe: those who favour providing mental health treatment and care in hospitals, and those who prefer providing it in community settings, primarily or even exclusively. At discussion sessions in the past, experts from a range of different European countries and different professional groups emphasised the deep influence of history and culture on service providers’ understanding of mental health care and their willingness and ability to offer mental health care within primary care. The historical background of health care systems explains to quite some extent these differences.

This debate gains importance because of the increase in the incidence, prevalence and burden of mental ill health which is reflected in an increase in demand for consultations and treatment. We advocate for a strong involvement of Primary Care in all countries: in prevention, diagnosis and treatment. This is the most accessible and effective way of addressing the needs of people. Also, deinstitutionalisation of mental health services and the establishment of services in primary care and involvement of family/friends, will contribute to social inclusion and to the (re)integration of patients in society.

In the past the EFPC published two Position Papers in the domain of Primary Care and Mental Health:

During the 2012 Gothenburg conference a Working Group has been formed to start the discussion on how to shape a well balanced care provision for people suffering mental health problems, knowing the risks for disease mongering and over-diagnosis. As the EFPC provides a multi-professional platform to discuss those issues from many different perspectives, this working group will make an attempt to give guidance to policy makers what are best options for the next decades to improve care provision and finally mental health outcomes.

Current chairs of the Working Group are:

  • Dineke Smit, LVE (Dutch association for primary care psychologists)
  • Jan De Lepeleire, University of Leuven, Department of General Practice

If you would like to join the Working Group, please send a message to the EFPC secretariat.