EPA President Silvana Galderisi addressed the following message to all EPA leaders, members and supporters in the most recent Newsletter from October 2017:
Distinguished Colleagues, Dear EPA Members,
My message is aimed to highlight the main achievements and challenges of the first 10 months of intense work as EPA President.
I will start with the European Congress of Psychiatry. The EPA has improved the scientific quality, visibility and impact of the Congress, has increased the number of participants and stimulated the participation of colleagues from countries outside Europe, including lower-middle income countries. In fact, in Florence, the largest ever number of participants, included 22% from outside Europe and, among them, a large number of attendees from lower-middle income countries (e.g. Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Pakistan).
The EPA is increasingly promoting the balance between genders in EPA committees, courses and congress sessions. In addition, the “EPA Pascal-Boyle Prize of €10 000 for Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in Working to Improve Mental Health Care in Europe” will now be awarded every year during the European Congress of Psychiatry. The prize is aimed to publicly acknowledge and increase awareness of the outstanding achievements by women working to improve mental health care in Europe.
The EPA leaders and the Council of NPAs have been working closely together in order to pursue important goals of the EPA strategic Action Plan 2017/2018. In particular, four working groups have been created: “Identity of Psychiatry”, “Mental Health in the Work Place” “Mental Health at Schools” and “Ethical Code in the Communication with Stakeholders”. Their deliverables will be proposed for endorsement by all NPAs and by the EPA Board, before planning a wider dissemination. In addition, to enhance the role of the EPA as “service provider” for the NPAs, a Task Force has been created to identify the needs of NPAs in terms of information and communication with the EPA, to facilitate their access to EU policy documents and grant opportunities, and to disseminate information relevant to best practices in the field of mental health care. Within this frame, a new EPA newsletter tailored to NPAs’ needs and interests will be launched in early 2018.
As to the challenges, the EPA has faced the need to respond to the report of the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health (A/HRC/35/21). A letter of response was addressed to the UN Special Rapporteur, in which great concern and disappointment was expressed for the image of psychiatry and psychiatrists emerging from the document, together with the wish to establish a constructive dialogue and work together for the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health for everyone. The EPA has not been alone in this endeavor, and other Associations have reacted in a similar vein.
Dear EPA Members, distinguished Colleagues, I have been through 10 months of intense work. The EPA Board, Council, Standing Committees, Section Chairpersons and Staff of the Administrative Offices have provided invaluable contribution. Much has been done, but a lot remains to be done. Your participation, support and collaboration will make it possible.