Czech Professor asks EU to act on looming mental health ‘pandemic’

Czech Professor asks EU to act on looming mental health ‘pandemic’ |

The rising number of people suffering from mental health issues across the globe calls for a coordinated approach at the EU level, Czech Professor of Psychiatry Jiří Horáček warned in an interview for

Mental health problems are on the rise, with experts recording twice as many anxiety disorders and suicidal thoughts compared to before the pandemic.

“We are even talking about a pandemic of psychiatric problems. In concrete numbers, it looks like we have three times more depression. That’s an incredible number,” the Czech expert told

According to Horáček, the EU should invest in developing new treatments as it will otherwise fail to tackle the problem. “It is essential to respond to this increase in mental health deterioration in a coordinated way at the EU level,” he said.

To build the proper community mental health care in Europe, Horáček advocates for a Europe-wide strategy which would be analogous to the existing EU Beating Cancer Plan.

“We want to make mental health a priority and to find solutions in a coordinated way,” the Czech psychiatrist added.

“We need to sit down and agree on what model of care is really best and then support it with all the instruments of the European Commission,” he said referring to the two main models of psychiatric care, with one consisting of the hospitalisation in large facilities, the other being a more modern and humanist approach.

We also need to invest in new methods of treatment that are effective and also quick. We cannot do this without a European level,” he concluded.

A strategy in mental health was first announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the 2022 State of the European Union speech in September.

It was then confirmed to be on the agenda for 2023 and will seek to create a comprehensive approach to mental health based on current needs as well as initiatives that emerged from the Conference on the Future of Europe.

No specifics have been announced at this stage.

(Eva Soukeníková |


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