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Germany, UK and Denmark lead mental health integration

But Janssen-backed report says progress is still needed in Europe
EU flag

Germany is the leading country in Europe when it comes to integrating people with mental health conditions into society and employment, according to new research commissioned by the pharma company Janssen.

The study, which was carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked 30 European countries according to their “degree of commitment to support those living with mental illness” based on a series of indicators, including access to medical help, job opportunities and efforts to combat stigma.

According to the authors, Germany's strong healthcare system and social provision helped it place first, closely followed by the UK and Denmark. Fairing less well were Croatia, Portugal, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria who made up the bottom five countries.

Mental Health Integration Index

Rank
Country
Score
1
Germany
85.6
2
UK
84.1
3
Denmark
82.0
4
Norway
79.5
5
Luxembourg
76.6



26
Croatia
40.1
27
Portugal
38.1
28
Greece
38.0
29
Romania
34.7
30
Bulgaria
25.0
 

Despite the positive scores for several countries, Janssen – part of Johnson & Johnson - said that Europe had a “long way to go” before people with mental illness were truly integrated, with a particular problem being the number of people with a mental health issue who do not receive appropriate care.

Mary Baker, former president of the European Brain Council, explained the issue: “Around 165 million people from within the European Union are affected by a mental illness at some point in any given year.

“However, only about a quarter of those people receive any treatment and about 10% had care which could be called 'notionally adequate'.”

The study's authors make several recommendations as to how countries can improve their support for people with mental illness. These include obtaining better provision and outcomes data and providing appropriate funding to support mental health policies.

Extra mental health funding for NHS England
The UK, which ranked second in the index, is one country that is actively investing to improve mental health services.

Yesterday deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced a further £120m in funding over the next two years for to help put mental health on an equal footing with physical health services.

The money will support the introduction of new standards for NHS England that focus on reduced waiting times for treatment initiation.

For example, 75% of people referred for taking therapy for the treatment of common mental health problems, such a s depression, will start their treatment within six weeks and 95 per cent will start within 18 weeks. This would put waiting times on par with physical health issues.

According to NHS England, mental illness is estimated to cost the country as much as £100bn each year, and the new standards will help make big savings in reduced hospital admissions and days off work.

Article by
Thomas Meek

9th October 2014

From: Healthcare

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