On the eve of the EU High Level Conference on Mental Health to be held in Brussels on Friday 13th June, the European Forum for Complementary and Alternative Medicine calls upon the EU to fully respect clause 24 of the new EU Health Program 2008-2013 which states that
The programme should recognise the value of a holistic approach to public health and take into account, where appropriate and where there is clinical or scientific evidence about its efficacy, complementary and alternative medicine in its actions.
Mental health problems are a rapidly rising problem area of public health due to the pressures of 21st century living in the EU. Our lives may be materially better off but the quality of citizens’ work, social and familial life is deteriorating and leading to rising problems of depression, anxiety, phobic behaviour and suicide. For this reason a holistic approach to mental health must as a priority look at the causes and then consider implementing preventive measures.
In addition the role of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and the practitioners of it in the treatment of patients with MH problems must be explored and the practices and qualified practitioners integrated into national healthcare systems. As well as offering mental health patients essential ‘time to talk’, CAM therapies offer gentle, non-addictive, safe, restorative interventions to help patients re-establish equilibrium while hopefully achieving the insight necessary to make changes in their lives to deal with the stress factors which are so often at the root of their condition.