Welcome to EUFAMI's news pages. EUFAMI aims to improve conditions for those with mental illness, and to remove the negative perception and stigma surrounding mental health through the provision of accurate and relevant information. Here you will find all the news relating to EUFAMI and mental health, including the latest campaign updates, press releases and EUFAMI's newsletter.
We are back from the summer holidays with another double edition of news from June and July!
2015 Annual Report and 2016 Annual General Meeting
In June, EUFAMI launched its 2015 Annual Report. It was approved by members at EUFAMI’s 2016 Annual General Meeting in Leuven on 28 May. This meeting marked a change of the guards, welcoming a new board member and three new officers, including Finland’s Miia Männikkö as President. It also gave fresh policy inputs, spurring stronger links with members and restating EUFAMI’s vital role in supporting family carers in mental health throughout Europe.
New Members from Portugal and Greece
EUFAMI welcomes two new members: Familiarmente, a new Portuguese association for families of persons with mental ill health, became full member; and EDRA, a Greek association providing services to people with social vulnerability, became affiliate member. EUFAMI now has 36 members in 23 countries.
EUFAMI welcomes new leadership and two new members at 2016 AGM
On May 28, EUFAMI held its 2016 Annual General Meeting and Member Participation Day at Leuven’s Augustinessenklooster. The meetings marked a change of the guards at EUFAMI, welcoming Finland’s Miia Männikkö as new President and Aagje Ieven as Secretary General. It also gave fresh policy inputs, spurring stronger links with members and restating EUFAMI’s vital role in supporting family carers in mental health throughout Europe.
In the morning, the Annual Report 2015 was approved and the other new Officers - Martine Frager Berlet (FR, vice-president), Per Torell (SE, secretary), and Bert Johnson (UK, treasurer) - as well as new staff - Winne Ko (membership and events) and Diego Calligaro (policy and communications) - were presented. Elections were also held to fill the vacancy on the Board of Directors, following Nadine Fossion’s departure. EUFAMI thanked Nadine for her years of service and welcomed Mr André Decraene of Similes Flanders (BE) as its new Board member.
Caring for Carers Survey - C4C On 12th January, EUFAMI & LUCAS’ Caring for Carers (C4C) survey was the focus of a Joint Meeting of the European Parliament Interest Group on Carers and the Interest Group on Mental Health, Well-being and Brain Disorders. MEP Marian Harkin opened the session, which was also attended by MEPs Heinz Becker, Nessa Childers, Jean Lambert, Sirpa Pietikainen and Cristian Silviu Busoi. Prof. Dr. Chantal van Audenhove (LUCAS KULeuven) presented the survey on behalf of EUFAMI, and pointed towards the inadequate recognition of family carers in mental health care despite high, cumulative and long-standing demands made on them. The presentation clarified the urgent need for a paradigm shift that views family carers as a resource and a partner in the care requirements of persons with severe mental illness. Other speakers included Spyros Zorbas (KINAPSI Greece), John Dunne (Eurocarers), and Jürgen Scheftlein (EC DG Sante). Also in attendance from EUFAMI were Bert Johnson (President) Nadine Fossion (Board Member and Secretary) and Aagje Ieven (Secretary General). The results of the C4C survey were fed into the EC DG Justice consultation on working carers. Meantime, the C4C survey has also been published in Spanish on online publication GeriatricArea. Adocare
With the close of 2015, the ADOCARE project, in which EUFAMI was a collaborating partner and advisory board member, came to an end. The project’s aim was to create an EU network of experts in the field of adapted care for adolescents with mental health problems, as the burden of mental illness is high in this age group while service provision is lacking in many ways. You can download the outcomes and recommendations in ten different languages here: English, French, Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Swedish, Finnish
Last month, we skipped a Bulletin, but we're back with a double edition! In the past month, EUFAMI also welcomed two new staff members: Winne Ko, responsible for membership and events; and Diego Calligaro, our policy and communications trainee.
Prism project launched
EUFAMI participated in the kickoff meeting of the PRISM project (Psychiatric Ratings using Intermediate Stratified Markers) 2-4 April in Utrecht, the Netherlands. PRISM is a €16.5 million research project funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative – a public/private partnership – to find out the underlying biological explanations for social withdrawal across diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorder. EUFAMI is excited to be part of this project, which offers the opportunity to break new ground and further improve the care for our loved ones who are suffering from various kinds of mental health issues. Find out more about PRISM in this Science article.
Public Policy Exchange workshop
Our Secretary-General Aagje Ieven was invited to be a key note speaker on the topic of ‘young people and mental health’ during a workshop organised by Public Policy Exchange in Brussels on April 26th. Aagje shared her expertise in EU advocacy and EUFAMI's views on mental health and young people with an audience of researchers.
At this turn of the year it is again a great pleasure for me to send this message of goodwill on behalf of EUFAMI to our member associations and supporters and all readers of our monthly @Bulletin.
The year just ended saw the completion of two major initiatives which remain current ; these were the Caring for Carers Survey of the experiences of carers of people with severe mental illness and the organisation of our sixth four yearly Congress held in Sofia. Both came successfully to fruition and, of longer term importance, have provided new platforms which we shall be using to strengthen and direct our support and advocacy on behalf of all those whose interests we represent.
The Carers survey report contains a mine of information and evidence confirming the central role played by family caregivers. It concludes that they should be recognised and respected as a full partner with the professionals in the whole process of treatment and care.
The Sofia Congress marked a significant step forward towards realising our longstanding objective to extend our presence and active support for all those in central and eastern European countries who are in such need of it. Already the Congress has encouraged those who took part to begin the task of organising carer groups of their own.
Last year also saw one historic change at EUFAMI with the departure of Kevin Jones as our Secretary-General. Kevin had served EUFAMI for ten years in that leading role and it is not too much to say that his name became synonymous with EUFAMI, known and highly regarded throughout the whole network of our relationships. We are grateful to him and offer him every good wish for his future.
In Kevin’s place we are delighted to welcome Aagje Ieven who comes to us from EUROCHILD, the network of bodies that promotes the rights and well being of children and young people. Her experience there has included the co-ordination of advocacy and campaigns to strengthen families and her earlier background has included work in the fields of health and human rights. An early priority for Aagje will be to make herself known to our member associations and other stakeholders who can expect to hear from her soon.
As we look ahead to the coming year and beyond we shall also want to pursue our other strategic objectives, involving and supporting all our associations effectively and exerting our influence strongly wherever we can make an impact. That will mean sustaining our working relations with the relevant European policy making institutions and the professional organisations of all sorts.
On behalf of my colleagues I should like to reaffirm EUFAMI’s commitment as the voice of family caregivers of those who suffer from a severe mental illness and our wish to work with all others who are dedicated to the same cause of making lives better.
My best wishes for the coming year to all readers of this @Bulletin.