Empowerment of service users and carers

In 2009 WHO/Europe launched a co-funded partnership project with the European Commission on empowering people with mental health problems and their carers.

Through direct involvement, the users of the mental health services and their carers can provide valuable contributions and insights. Understanding what works and what does not, they can help shape services to meet their needs. A dialogue with users and carers helps governments promote citizens‘ mental health. The collaboration between national governments and civil society helps policy initiatives meet the needs of users and carers.

The empowerment of people with mental health problems and their carers is identified as a key priority in the WHO Mental Health Declaration for Europe (2005), the European Pact for Mental Health (2008), and the WHO European Mental Health Action Plan (2013). Empowerment is one of the key values of the Action Plan, which states that 'all people with mental health problems have the right, throughout their lives, to be autonomous, having the opportunity to take responsibility for and to share in all decisions affecting their lives, mental health and well-being.’ Objectives 2, 4 and 6 address this vision with proposed actions for Member States.