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The section Public Mental Health was established in 2006 in Montreux.

The past decade has brought a heightened awareness of the global impact of mental disorders as regards prevalence, severity, disability and mortality. According to the global burden of disease study (Murray and Lopez, 1996) neuropsychiatric conditions will be 2010 among the four leading causes of disease burden in developed regions of the world accounting for 22% of “disability adjusted life years” (DALYS). Mental Health is high on the agenda of European health policy. In January 2005, the World Health Organisation (WHO) held a ministerial conference in Helsinki (Finland), which resulted in launching a mental health declaration and a mental health action plan. In March 2006, the European Commission launched a “Green Paper on Mental Health” to start a consultation process on mental health and mental health promotion in the European region.
 
These research results and initiatives not only strengthen further research to improve knowledge on the biological, social, psychological and political risk factors for mental health, but also stimulate the development of policies and practices to establish a basis for preventive action. Problems relating to Mental Health are a Public Health priority. In line with the EU action plan 2006-2010, and the EU “Green paper”, it is necessary to increase the networking and capacity in the field of Mental Health in the European Region. The Public Health sector has the best equipped group of professionals and experts to increase the capacity in the Mental Health field.

The mental health impact of intentional and unintentional injuries and violence, culture and mental health and research and intervention programmes on mental health promotion are currently major topics of Public Mental Health Section.

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