Position Statement on the position of psychotherapy in Europe

Emotional Wellbeing of European Citizens  – What has to be done?

It is estimated that, each year, 38.2% of citizens in the European Union (150>200 million people) suffer from a mental health disorder. This figure is increasing rapidly (in 2005, it was 82 million).

This carries a huge – both annual and long-term – economic and social cost, involving absenteeism, poor performance, stress and distress, loss of earnings, increased use of health resources, increased disability, premature retirement as well as any ensuing emotional distress and deprivation of the patients’ family and friends. 
The recent economic crisis / recession has also impacted significantly on mental health.

These mental disorders include anxiety disorders (14.0%), insomnia (7.0%), major depression (6.9%), somatoform disorders (6.3%), alcohol and drug dependence (>4%), AHHD (5%) in the young, and dementia (up to 30%, depending on age).

There seems to be no substantial cultural or country variations (except for substance abuse and mental retardation). Although there are increases in sick leave, early retirement and treatment rates, there are no consistent indications of any improvements with regard to low treatment rates, delayed treatment provision and grossly inadequate treatment.

These 200 million of our citizens deserve accessibility to quality-assured, readily available, psychotherapeutic care. They have a right to be informed about psychotherapy as an effective treatment of choice, sometimes in conjunction with psychopharmacology.

We, in the EAP, call for a proper legal regulation of the profession of psychotherapy and the wider provision of psychotherapeutic services within the European Union.

We expect the new European Parliament and the new European Commission to take appropriate and effective action. 


1) H.U. Wittchen, F. Jacobi, J. Rehm, A. Gustavsson, M. Svensson, B. Jönsson, J. Olesen, C. Allgulander, J. Alonso, C. Faravelli, L. Fratiglioni, P. Jennum, R. Lieb, A. Maercker, J. van Os, M. Preisig, L. Salvador-Carulla, R. Simon, H.-C. Steinhausen (2011). The size and burden of mental disorders and other disorders of the brain in Europe 2010. European Neuropsychopharmacology, Volume 21, Issue 9, September 2011, pages 655-679. DOI: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2011.07.018)
2) D. McCaid, M. McKnapp, C. Curran (2005). Policy Brief: Mental Health III: Funding Mental Health in Europe. WHO – European Observatory on Health & Social Policies. Accessed: 18-Feb-2013: www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/108955/E85489.pdf
3) WHO: Regional Office for Europe (2011). Impact of Economic Crisis on Mental Health. Accessed: 18-Feb-2013: www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/108955/E85489.pdf


For the EAP

Eugenijus Laurinaitis  / EAP President

Alfred Pritz / General Secretary EAP

Annette Kreuz / External Relations Officer EAP

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