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Friday 23rd of March 2018


International Symposium 'Building a Brighter Future: Promoting, Protecting and Improving Young People’s Mental Health in Europe'



Wednesday 28th of March 2018


In their transition to adulthood, young people aged between 15-24, are faced with decisions of paramount importance regarding career and education whilst navigating through shifting social relationships with family and peers. The inability to cope with the changing environment, as well as the restraining social standards promoted by the social media can cause a great struggle in a young person’s mind. Unless properly addressed they can turn into various disorders which can impede upon an individual's quality of life and can place a collective burden on the economy.

Mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders etc. are reported by the World Health Organisation to have occurred for at least 27% of the young adult population in 2016. According to WHO, half of all mental health illnesses begin by the age of 14 and three quarters by mid-20s. Mental health problems, and particularly depression, are considered the largest cause of the burden of disease among young people.

To tackle these challenges, significant efforts have been made by the European Union together with WHO by introducing the European Mental Health Action Plan 2013 – 2020, containing four core objectives to promote mental health worldwide, including the provision of accessible and affordable mental health services. Ministers from the EU subsequently agreed on a Joint Action Plan on Mental Health, whilst the European Commission (EC) established the EU Compass for Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing as a platform to collect, analyse, and exchange information across Europe.

Despite the positive efforts, significant challenges remain. Across the EU, only a minority of young people with mental disorders can fully benefit from adequate treatments. The gap between available solutions and lack of implementation could be reduced through more accurate and timely identification methods and subsequent referral for treatment. Moreover, although the number and quality of the support services offered has considerably increased and improved, the overall share of young people opting to seek help from these channels is struggling to meet the existing offer, mainly because of the fear of shame and stigmatisation, highlighting the need for new methods that could more effectively reach out to young people.

This timely international symposium provides an invaluable opportunity to evaluate the current state of mental health policies for young people at EU level and to discover best practices in the field of prevention and early intervention. It will address innovative approaches to support young people’s mental health in family and school settings and also at the workplace, while focussing on the action of health services in the promotion of mental well-being. This symposium will also address the role of new technologies and social media as a double-edged instrument in the hands of children and young people.

Delegates will:

Discuss ways to invest in early prevention and identification

Explore innovative approaches to support young people’s mental health wellbeing in the workplace

Explore ways to raise the awareness of youth mental health in the society

Share best practices of successful initiatives that increase the capacity of health systems to act more effectively

Determine how to improve the accessibility of existing support services

Build strong partnerships between relevant stakeholders in the public and private sector

Find ways to overcome job-related stress and provide adequate motivational support in the workplace

Delve into the potential of specific teaching methods that empower the individuals to have a better control upon their life and education

Address the issue of cyber-bullying and find relevant solutions to tackle it




Public Policy Exchange (International Organization)


Adolescent, Assistance, Health, Therapeutic


Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre, Brussels


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