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Our mission

“We advocate for positive mental health and wellbeing and for the rights of people living with mental ill health and we raise awareness to end mental health stigma”

Mental Health Europe is a European non-governmental network organisation committed to the promotion of positive mental health, the prevention of mental distress, the improvement of care, advocacy for social inclusion and the protection of the rights of (ex)users of mental health services, persons with psychosocial disabilities, their families and carers.


MHE works closely with the European Institutions and international bodies to mainstream mental health in all policies and end mental health stigma. Mental Health Europe represents associations and individuals in the field of mental health including users of mental health services, professionals, service providers and volunteers.  Together with its members, MHE formulates recommendations for policy makers to develop mental health friendly policies. MHE places users of mental services at the centre of its work to ensure the voice of people who have experienced mental ill health is heard across Europe.


years of advocacy


member organisations


different countries


Strategic priorities

Strategic Priorities

Ensure a human rights-based and recovery-centred approach to mental health

✓ Engage with and influence the EU Institutions, the Council of Europe and other key stakeholders on the monitoring

and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

✓ Raise awareness of stigma and discrimination around mental health through communication tools and a dedicated campaign.

✓ Lobby for review and reform of diagnostic models which are not human rights or recovery compliant.

✓ Actively support the empowerment of people with lived experience of mental ill health, including users and ex-users of services.

✓ Raise awareness of and promulgate the recovery model amongst members, key stakeholders and the general public.


Parity of esteem: valuing mental health equally with physical health

✓ Advocate for equal funding in mental health and physical health.

✓ Ensure the mainstreaming of mental health in all policies, including economic,education, social and employment policies,
with a particular focus on poverty and social inclusion, through policy and communication tools.

✓ Promote positive mental health and wellbeing in all policies and wider prevention strategies, particular prevention of suicide.

✓ Promote a holistic vision of health and a better knowledge of the intertwining of physical health and mental health.

Promote better mental health at work

✓ Engage with EU Institutions through policy and communication tools, on the economic and social costs of mental health issues at work.

✓ Through the EU Alliance on Mental Health in All Policies, create a broad network of NGOs, service providers, insurers, trade unions and corporates to influence policy makers.

✓ Advocate for and collate data on good quality employment opportunities for all, including people with psychosocial disabilities who are long-term unemployed.

Advocate for better community based care

✓ Deliver training on DI to the EU Institutions to raise awareness and influence key decision makers.

✓ Engage with National governments on the transparent and sound use of structural funds to enable the process of DI.

✓ Deliver an updated research project mapping institutionalisation in Europe.

✓ Create and facilitate formal and informal networks between our members to exchange best practiceson community based care.

Strengthen and consolidate MHE’s networks

✓ Diversify funding streams.

✓ Create and consolidate informal and formal networks amongst our members to share best practices and
develop joint projects where possible.

✓ Deliver flexible and responsive capacity building for members.

✓ Develop a membership strategy.

✓ Set up accountability mechanisms with transparent processes in line with best practices in good governance.

✓ Create informal and formal alliances with other European mental health organisations.

✓ Position MHE as the European voice of mental health.

Meet the board

Meet the MHE Board Members, who support the work of the Secretariat with passion and commitment.

Nigel Henderson

President,Chief Executive Penumbra UK, Scotland

Rita Donabauer

Vice-President, Board member of pro mente Austria,

Barbara Davis

Secretary, Administration Manager Mental Health, Ireland

Jan Van Speybroeck

Treasurer, Director Flemish Association for Mental Health, Belgium

“People can, and do, recover from mental ill health.”

“There is no health without mental health”

“I am keen to see more peer-led and recovery orientated initiatives both in Ireland and Europe”

“Our objective is a mentally healthy Flanders where good human care is offered and where people living with mental ill health can fully participate in social life without any form of stigma or discrimination”

Sari Aalto-Matturi

Executive Director Finnish Association for Mental Health, Finland

Jan Berndsen

Representative, Mental Health Utrecht GGZ Nederland, Chief Executive Officer, Lister, the Netherlands

Amedeea Enache

Executive Director Estuar Foundation Romania

Birgit Görres

Managing Director Dachverband Gemeindepsychiatrie e.V. ,Germany

“Our mission is to support and promote good mental health, considered essential at all levels of society and in all spheres of life”

“Mental health service providers must believe in recovery”

“The best way to invest in the community is to support persons with mental health problems to be included in the community and provide them with quality social services”

“We want to build up useful help for and with people with mental health problems, their relatives and other citizens”

Karilė Levickaitė

Director Mental Health Perspectives, Lithuania

Donatella Miccinesi

AISMe, Italy

Guadalupe Morales

Director, Fundación Mundo Bipolar, Spain

Kitty Mylonopoulou

Chief Operating Officer, Society of Social Psychiatry and Mental Health, Greece

“We still live in the world full of prejudices and myths related to mental health, thus speaking up and raising awareness is an essential step towards human rights friendly health care services and tolerant society at large.”

“Working together to develop our own choices”

“Let’s not forget: Nothing about us without us. My main mission is to promote the rights of persons living with mental ill health and psychosocial disabilities and encourage peer to peer training and support”

“We cannot take out all the challenges people face but we can help improve the perspectives and future of persons living with mental ill health”

Stephanie Wooley

Board Director in charge of International relations Advocacy, France

“With mental health, Teamwork makes the dream work!”

Meet the Staff

Maria Nyman


Alva Finn

Policy Manager

Ophélie Martin

Communications Manager

Laura Marchetti

Policy Officer Project Assistant
Maria Nyman has been working in the disability field throughout her professional career. She is the Director of Mental Health Europe (MHE) since January 2012. Before this, she was Campaign Manager and Policy Officer at the European Disability Forum, the European umbrella organisation representing persons with disabilities. Maria, a Swedish citizen, has a Master of Laws from the University of Uppsala (Sweden) and made her specialisation in EU law and Human Rights at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium).
Alva hails from Ireland and holds a Master's in International Law from the University of Amsterdam. She has worked in the human rights field for the past 5 years and has experience predominately in the multilateral spheres of the EU and UN but also in the domestic contexts of Egypt, Ireland and the UK. She has focused on a variety of different issues including refugee and asylum issues, de-institutionalisation, children's rights, civil and political rights and the rights of persons with disabilities. Most recently, before joining Mental Health Europe, she worked as a Human Rights Attaché for the Irish Mission to the United Nations in Geneva.
Ophelie is from France, where she studied journalism and political science. She holds a Master degree in International Politics from Trinity College Dublin and has been working in Brussels for the past three years. After a first experience at the EU Commission Press Office in Paris, Ophelie worked for different European consulting and capacity building companies. She previously worked on issues including mental health in the workplace; mental health and young people as well as employment and social inclusion for people with mental health problems. She has experience in journalism, communications and public affairs, especially in the field of health and social policies.
Laura is from Italy and holds a Master degree in European Studies from the University of Groningen and the University of Strasbourg. She has been working in the field of human rights at European and international levels throughout her career. More specifically she has focused on the rights of persons with disabilities, children's rights, de-institutionalisation, economic and social rights. Laura works as Policy Officer at Mental Health Europe on a part time basis and as Coordinator of the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG). Before joining MHE, Laura worked as Social Policy Officer at the European Disability Forum.

Meet the Senior Policy Advisors

Bob Grove

Employment social policy

Stijn Jannes

Health policy

Jan Pfeiffer

Deinstitutionalisation, Structural funds

Josée van Remoortel

Human rights Mental health in all policies

Committees & Taskforces

Mental Health Europe Committees and Taskforces support the Secretariat on specific issues including human rights, new membership and financial questions.



The Membership and Accreditation Committee supports the work of MHE with membership recruitment, advice on membership applications, reviews of the statutes and internal rules and makes proposals in relation to the membership fees.



The Finance Committee ensures that MHE’s financial situation is given the necessary attention and secures the transparency of the accounts.


Human rights

The Committee on Mental Health and Human Rights supports MHE’s work on human rights and ensure that human rights are mainstreamed in all MHE’s activities and projects and that appropriate actions are taken when the human rights of people with mental health problems are violated.

Mental Health Europe Taskforces work on specific issues related to mental health. They support the Secretariat’s policy work on a regular basis. The Beyond the Biomedical Paradigm Taskforce (BBP Taskforce) is a group of experts working on the change of culture within mental health services in Europe. The BBP Taskforce works with the Secretariat on trying to shift the mental health sector away from the purely biomedical approach to mental health. Experts call for a key shift in mental health culture which considers and involves the views, rights and lived experience of mental health service users.

Who we work with

MHE collaborates and contributes to a constructive dialogue with European policy makers and other international bodies including the United Nations, the Council of Europe as well as the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization.

European Commission

Collaborating with the European Commission is at the heart of MHE’s work. This collaboration includes our participation in various civil dialogues, two of the most important being the High-level Group on Disability and the Group of Governmental Experts on Mental Health. MHE also shares expertise and input about mental health policy with the EU Commission when required.

World Health Organisation

Mental Health Europe has an observatory Status with the World Health Organization

Council of Europe

Mental Health Europe has a consultative status with the Council of Europe and contributes to the Council of Europe coalition of INGOs.

United Nations

Mental Health Europe’s core human rights work concerns the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). MHE attended the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and had our concerns reflected in a number of recommendations.

European Parliament

Mental Health Europe works closely with the European Parliament and its Members
through the MEPs affiliated to our Coalition for Mental Health and Well-being.

European organisations

Mental Health Europe maintains close relationships with other European organisations active in the field of health, disability and social affairs at European level. This collaboration is key to ensure good networks of contacts and mainstream mental health in all policies. Mental Health Europe is member of the following European organisations:


International Labour Organization

Mental Health Europe is member of the mental health working group
of the International Labour Organization – Business and Disability.