Mental Health in Europe

The industry analysis of my internship organization is a little bit special since the industry does not really involve any idea of “competition”. As a therapeutic center and an organization that works toward the goal of preventing suicide, Centre Popincourt (actually no renamed as Centre of Suicide Prevention in Paris) in funded by government funds on health and has a mission of promoting public health and people’s well-being. In addition to provide therapeutic services to citizens for free and offering therapeutic art workshops to the patients for a small amount of fee, CPS reaches out to organizations that have similar goals and tries for form a mental health coalition with all of these partners. FEALIPS (Fédération Européenne des Associations luttant contre l’Isolement et pour la Prévention du Suicide) is the name of this coalition within the area of Europe, and IASP (International Association of Suicide Prevention) is the international coalition of suicide prevention efforts. Among these associations, there have been conferences held, conversations exchanged, and ideas produced regarding increase of awareness in public and policy changing.

One thing interesting, though, that I observed while participating in the Second European Forum of Mental Health this past week, was the idea that my internship supervisor brought up: France is sometimes “absent” on these cross-country platforms of representation. For example, when we were at the conference, the sessions were carried out in English (which made sense since that was the most commonly used language), there were not a lot of French organizations being invited and participated in the conference, and in the research paper that was included in the packet of the conference, there wasn’t a single citation from French publications. My supervisor at internship expressed his disappointment at these facts and said he would like to see France being more presented on conversation platforms like this, although he also mentioned that this might have something to do with the policies in France.

Nevertheless, FEALIPS is going to hold its third conference this September in Brussels, Belgium, and the conference will be held in French, with English translation provided. As of now, I am working on translating the emails, newsletters and materials that are going to be used for this conference. Over these past few weeks, I have also been to meetings with partners at Belgium, in which we talked about having them speak at the conference and introduce their effort and practices. Even though the EU mental health conference did not directly address the problem of suicide prevention, we were able to obtain a list of organizations that we could reach out to and talk about cooperation.

I think that the industry of non-profits involves less competition between each organization, however politics/policies play important roles in determining if an area’s voice is represented or not. However, the most important thing is to coordinate all the effort and form alliances across countries and around the world so that the issue of mental health and be more seriously considered and effective measures can be carried out as a result of these large united efforts.