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Health at a Glance: Europe 2018

State of Health in the EU Cycle

image of Health at a Glance: Europe 2018

Health at a Glance: Europe 2018 presents comparative analyses of the health status of EU citizens and the performance of the health systems of the 28 EU Member States, 5 candidate countries and 3 EFTA countries. It is the first step in the State of Health in the EU cycle of knowledge brokering. This publication has two parts. Part I comprises two thematic chapters, the first focusing on the need for concerted efforts to promote better mental health, the second outlining possible strategies for reducing wasteful spending in health. In Part II, the most recent trends in key indicators of health status, risk factors and health spending are presented, together with a discussion of progress in improving the effectiveness, accessibility and resilience of European health systems.

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Promoting mental health in Europe: Why and how?

Good mental health is a critical part of individual well-being, and the foundation for happy, fulfilled, productive lives. However, this chapter finds that more than one in six people across EU countries had a mental health problem in 2016. Living with mental ill-health means that individuals are less able to succeed at school and work, are more likely to be unemployed, and may suffer worse physical health. For some, mental illnesses lead to premature mortality: over 84 000 people died of mental health problems and suicides across EU countries in 2015.The economic costs of mental illness are also significant. This chapter estimates total costs related to mental ill-health at more than 4% of GDP – or over EUR 600 billion – across the 28 EU countries in 2015. EUR 190 billion (or 1.3% of GDP) is direct spending on health care, another EUR 170 billion (1.2% of GDP) is spending on social security programmes, while a further EUR 240 billion (1.6% of GDP) is caused by indirect costs in the labour market, driven by lower employment rates and reduced productivity due to mental illness.The heavy economic, social and individual burden of mental illness is not inevitable, and more must be done to prevent and treat mental disorders, and to foster good mental health. The latter part of this chapter explores some effective ways by which European countries are promoting mental well-being and preventing mental illness, and identifies critical gaps where more action is needed.

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