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Enhancing Mental Health and Well-Being: Promoting Mental Well-Being and Preventing Mental Ill Health at the Workplace

Date: Wednesday, 23 January 2019 10:00 - 16:30

Venue: Central Brussels

Mental ill health costs the EU billions every year, but the equivalent individual, community, and societal costs are immeasurable. On average people spend a third of their lives working, making it an important factor for mental health. The rapidly changing nature of work, advances in technology and globalisation have exacerbated the risk of developing mental ill health across the EU, as highlighted by the EU2020 Strategy’s concern for workers’ mental health. Nevertheless, the workplace also presents a significant opportunity to enhance mental well-being. 

Last year, the EU Joint Action on Mental Health and Well-Being prioritised mental health at work, in schools and actions against suicide. 2017’s annual report praised efforts to promote, fund and re-organise services for mental health, however, identified shortcomings in legislative action and impact assessments. This September, Eurofound published “Burnout in the Workplace: A Review of data and policy responses in the EU” which exemplifies the complexities surrounding mental health issues. The report highlights confused definitions, fragmented national policy responses and the need for preventative approaches. The Employment and Social Affairs Committee MEPs similarly voiced concerns about the retention and reintegration of workers with disabilities, chronic diseases or recovering from injury in the workplace, which is due to be voted on. This measure considers the often overlooked benefits of working on mental well-being. 

Mental health poses a number of difficult challenges for policymakers, organisations and individuals. It cannot be considered at the workplace in isolation, nor be addressed with a broad-brush response as it manifests itself differently with each individual. Moreover, mental well-being receives varying degrees of attention at national and organisational levels, affected by culture, knowledge and resources among other factors. Despite efforts to promote a multi-modal, inclusive and open approach to mental health, achieving this across the EU represents a challenge. The potential to enhance mental health in the workplace is increasingly emphasised, however more needs to be done to ensure employment opportunities are available for those with mental illness. 

Exploring both the damaging and beneficial aspects of working life on mental health, this international symposium brings together key stakeholders, mental health specialists and policy-makers to raise concerns, share ideas and propose solutions. Delegates will be encouraged to discuss current initiatives, examine innovative approaches to promote mental health at the workplace and consider the relationship between mental well-being and unemployment. It promises to provide topical and thought-provoking debate.                

Delegates will:

  • Evaluate current EU initiatives, research and proposals
  • Raise awareness about the relationship between mental health and well-being to the workplace
  • Consider ways to promote multi-modal, inclusive and open approaches to mental health  
  • Examine innovative programmes for promoting mental health and well-being at work
  • Assess measures for identifying psychosocial risks and promoting open discussion about mental health at work
  • Scrutinise the cost of mental ill health 
  • Explore methods for overcoming the stigmatisation of mental ill health
  • Gain insight into the challenging relationship of unemployment to mental health 


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All Dates

  • Wednesday, 23 January 2019 10:00 - 16:30

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