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

Date: Wednesday, 21 March 2018 10:00 - 16:30

Venue: Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre  |  City: Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Belgium

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


09:15 Registration and Morning Refreshments
10:00 Chair's Welcome and Opening Remarks

The European Strategy on Mental Health: Understanding the Current Framework

  • Promoting a Consolidated Response in Preventing Vulnerable Persons from Being Trafficked: The EU Strategy on Human Trafficking
  • Implementing the New Set of Priorities and Discussing the Way Forward
  • Approaching the Trafficking of Human Beings – Definition, Figures and Policy Developments
10:40 First Round of Discussions
11.10 Morning Coffee Break

Promoting a Cross-Sectoral Approach, Early Prevention, Detection, and Treatment of Mental Health

  • Bringing Together Teachers and Parents in Providing Support For a Harmonious Development
  • Providing Accessible, Competent, and Affordable Mental Health Services
  • Measuring the Impact of Successful Treatment: The Challenge to Provide Clear Data about the Success of Psychological Intervention
  • Strengthening Cooperation between Mental Health Service Providers
12:00 Second Round of Discussions
12.30 Networking Lunch

The Role of Technology and Social Media: Potential Risks and Solutions

  • Combating the Growing Threat of Cyber-bullying through Education, Awareness and Support
  • Highlighting the Potential of e-Mental health: Developing Collaborative Digital Solutions Targeting and Involving Young People
  • Exploring the Role of Psychological Guidance as a Way of Providing Sustainable Solutions to Youth Mental Well-Being
14.00 Third Round of Discussions
14:30 Afternoon Coffee Break

Improving Workplace Conditions for Young People

  • Supporting  Adolescents and Young People through Moments of Career Choice
  • Supporting People with Mental Health Problems in the Workplace: The Employment Equality Directive
  • Exploring Efficient Incentives to Reduce Work-Related Stress By Promoting a Positive Psychological Workplace Well-Being
  • Innovative Solutions And Projects: Learning from Successful Interventions 
15.20 Fourth Round of Discussions
15:50 Chair's Summary and Closing Remarks
16.00 Networking Reception and Refreshments
16.30 Symposium Close



Avenue du Boulevard 17
1210 Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Belgium




All Dates

  • Wednesday, 21 March 2018 10:00 - 16:30

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