European Forum Primary Care Mental Health

Lisa Hill, Jan Delepeleire, Dineke Smit, Ian Walton


The European Forum for Primary Care Mental Health (EFPCMH) working group collated the experiences and views from a series of co-produced workshops over a period of six years. The workshops produced recurring themes that have been collated.
There was consensus that the current system, where everyone with a mental illness is expected to be treated by a specialist, is not economically feasible or desirable.

Research questions:

To determine the main themes influencing primary care mental health across Europe
To identify the shared issues from across Europe.
To identify the solutions based on evidence and best practice


Using a qualitative approach and an iterative process to produce themes, the issues, and solutions to formulate a position paper.
A literature search was undertaken on each theme to identify current thinking and theory.
The results were collated into a position paper for the European Forum Primary Care with input from EUCOMS and PRIMOIRE


The workshop participants shared many beliefs and values, embracing the move to destigmatise mental health, through co-production, to include the patients' and caregivers' voices and skills in the research and development of services. The workshops discovered that there is no universal framework for integration, a patchwork of primary care response, poor data collection, limited investment and little research on outcomes for the service users and their families.


There was a consensus that those in society who are most vulnerable and have the most needs are not getting them met. Themes from across the whole life course were identified as priorities for transformation to enable primary care to be pivotal in a new system of mental health. These themes are not exhaustive, they offer a holistic framework where primary care would enable a psychosocial, spiritual and cultural perspective to work alongside the physical health model to ensure holistic care.

Points for discussion:

Themes, sharing of best practice, sharing of evidence, next steps