Queen Mathilde spoke at the 70th session of the World Health Organisation’s Regional Committee for Europe meeting on Monday where she discussed the importance of mental health.
Speaking virtually at this week’s session, Queen Mathilde began her speech extolling how good mental health “helps us all to achieve our full potential. It boosts our resilience and ability to manage change and uncertainty. Investing in mental health is essential for societies to prosper. As an Advocate for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, I decided to make mental health one of my priorities.”
She continued: “The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us how important mental health is to everyone’s well-being. The crisis has already had a huge psychological impact. It has exposed the limitations of our health care systems in general and, in particular, our mental health care systems. It is also of great concern that known determinants of mental ill health – including isolation, unemployment, indebtedness, poverty and social inequalities – are rising rapidly across the world. These are expected to result in a surge of anxiety-related illnesses, depression and deaths caused by despair, especially among the most vulnerable.
“But this crisis can also act as a catalyst for improving services and changing societal attitudes about mental health. New initiatives are emerging, including to raise awareness.
“Committed leaders and strong partnerships are needed to effect such changes. It is encouraging that mental health has a central position in the new European Programme of Work. As an Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals, I am delighted to see that a new mental health coalition of partners is taking shape within WHO/Europe.”
Queen Mathilde finished her speech by asking for committed action to prioritise mental health. “We can and must do better, not just by protecting and supporting those with mental health challenges, but also by promoting mental well-being. These are core elements of universal health coverage, social equity and sustainable development.
“Let’s commit to united action for better mental health in the future.”
Crown Princess Mary also spoke at the WHO Regional Committee for Europe’s session on Monday, where she discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted healthcare and how it will impact our future.