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Mental health and addictive behaviours

The new challenges of the mental health policy and interventions focus on the needs to achieve better understanding of the psychosocial and biological factors in mental disorders, together with their interactions. Mental ill-health is a major public health problem for the European countries, bringing challenges for patients and their families.
Mental illness also brings an ethical challenge when it leads to stigmatisation and social exclusion.
The most important cross-cutting issues and challenges for mental health policy relates with:
  • Stigmatisation: which is a major obstacle to the provision of mental health care and often leads to inadequate care of those suffering from co-morbid physical and mental health disorders. It has a significant negative effect on quality of life of those who have mental disorders and those who care for them.
  • Suicide and mortality risks linked to mental health disorders: commonly used as a measure of serious mental health problems. Biological, psychological and social factors linked to these phenomena need to be studied and effective methods for detection, risk assessment and early intervention have to be developed starting from the good practices that have already shown to have an impact on the reduction of mortality risks.
  • Addiction: even if addiction is not viewed consistently across the EU as part of the mental health agenda, it is vital to understand the dual pathology of addiction and mental disorders in order to determine more coherent treatment strategies. More evidence is needed in several critical areas, for example to clarify the factors influencing risk-taking and protective behaviour in young people, to develop effective strategies to prevent fatal overdoses, etc.
  • Mental health in children and adolescents: contemporary recognition of child and adolescent mental disorders and advances in the care of children and adolescents with mental disorders provide an incentive to synthesize current knowledge, identify issues for future exploration, and consider appropriate policies. Areas of primary concern are: magnitude of the burden of child and adolescent mental disorders, advances made in treatment and diagnosis, barriers to treatment, trends in care for children and adolescents with mental disorders.


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