Mental health in Europe and Christian ethics

An Opinion Working Group on Ethics in Research and Medicine of COMECE


In an aging European society, mental health is an increasing concern with strong economic and social impact. Brain disorders affect one in three Europeans and have an estimated cost of €800 billion a year. In order to help Europe to tackle the issue, COMECE publishes its reflexion and proposals.


teenage girl suffering with depression in a conversation with a therapistBack in 2008, the European Commission had launched the European Pact for mental health and well being, and the European Council and the European Parliament both launched recently initiatives in this field.


In its Opinion, the COMECE Working Group on Ethics in Research and Medicine stresses the positive impact of religiosity on Mental health and comes up with five priorities for action on mental health.


The COMECE experts stress in particular that mental health disorders cannot be treated only by pharmacological means. However serious it may be, a mental disease does not detract from human dignity, but instead calls for special attention and care for the human person. Alternative means should be put in place, such as ‘talking therapies’, which cover also behavioural, social and art/activity therapies; they suggest to care for mental health in workplace settings and combat stigma and social exclusion.


The Opinion’s draftsperson is the member of the COMECE Working Group David Jones, representative of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford.


The COMECE Working Group on Ethics in Research and Medicine monitors and prepares opinions, reports and contributions to the EU debate and on the EU-policy in the areas of research, innovation and healthcare. It also follows the work of the European Group on Ethics (EGE).