Biosistemak the Health Systems Research Institute (formerly Kronikgune) represents the Department of Health and Osakidetza Basque Health Services in this European project.  

Mental health is one of the areas of action and health priorities of the European Commission that aims to promote good mental health and prevention of related problems. The strategic lines and areas that the European Commission is working on include early detection and screening of mental health problems; actions to continue tackling psychosocial risks at work; support and improvement of access to treatment and care for mental health problems; and improvement of the quality of life of patients, their families and/or carers, among others.

The European initiative “Healthier Together”, funded by the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA), is part of the EU4HEALTH programme focused on addressing Mental Health. Specifically, it aims to reduce the burden of mental health problems, improve the well-being of the population, and support people with mental disorders. The Joint Action, to be launched in 2024, will work on the transfer of best practices and innovative approaches related to mental health, the development of recommendations, and the launch of various actions that can have a significant impact on public health and suicide prevention. It will also provide support to the different European Member States for the implementation and reinforcement of programmes.

The Basque Country will be represented by Osakidetza Basque Health Services, the Directorate of Social and Health Care of the Department of Health and the Biosistemak Institute (formerly Kronikgune), the latter as the sole beneficiary authority and signatory at state level, and will have a relevant role in the coordination of the different affiliated entities at the state level that have yet to be designated.

The nomination of the Basque Country as a Competent Authority by the Ministry of Health highlights and recognises the work carried out by Osakidetza and the Department of Health in the area of mental health and by Biosistemak (formerly Kronikgune) in the coordination of state and European research projects and communities. Euskadi’s participation will involve sharing the experience and knowledge acquired with European organisations, and transferring information on plans and programmes implemented in Osakidetza. Since its creation, the Biosistemak Institute (formerly Kronikgune) has participated, together with Osakidetza, in projects financed by different programmes of the European Commission and the Strategic Health Action. They pursue the continuous adaptation and transformation of the health system to meet its challenges, including preventing and managing mental health diseases.

Following the pandemic, the Basque Country is working on a new Mental Health Strategy in line with new needs and as a consolidation of the community model.  The reinforcement of care programmes will pay special attention to child and adolescent mental health and the eating disorders programme, as post-pandemic emergencies that need to be adequately sized with new actions.  Likewise, in line with the approaches of the Health Plan, the reinforcement of mental health promotion, the prevention of psychiatric illnesses and the fight against stigma will be hallmarks of the new strategy. The Strategy for Suicide Prevention in the Basque Country, launched in 2019, is another key element in the field of mental health.