Mental Health Europe in the spotlight

Why does your organisation exist?

Stigma around mental health problems is still very common across the EU. Access to quality care and support is lacking and the institutional model of mental health services is still prevailing in many countries. MHE’s mission is upholding the mental health and well-being of all citizens, from all minority groups and from the whole of Europe – We will continue our work as long as our objective is not yet fully realised.

 What’s on the top of your agenda?

Currently, the review of the EU by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disability is top priority. This is a crucial opportunity for getting mental health into the discussions and see whether the EU delivers or not in terms of human rights for persons with psychosocial disability.

What is your biggest achievement as an organisation?

MHE has done some very effective work on deinstitutionalisation. We conducted research showing how many people are still in institutions in Europe – an area where collating data has proved to be difficult.

The work that we have done on the link between mental and physical health was also a great achievement because research in this field is still quite limited. 

What is for you the key benefit of your organisation’s involvement in EPF?

It is a means for strengthening the link between mental and physical health and for ensuring joint lobbying efforts. EPF also offers many network opportunities and organises quality events, which we are always happy to attend. 

What’s the main misconception about your disease area?

That persons with mental health problems are dangerous! The truth is that persons with mental health problems are more likely to be a victim of violence than a perpetrator of violence.

Maria Nyman

Maria Nyman

Maria Nyman has been working for the ten last years in the disability sector, first at the European Disability Forum as Policy Officer and Project Manager, and since 2012 as Director of Mental Health Europe. She studied law at the Universities of Uppsala (Sweden) and Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) and specialised in EU law and human rights.

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