EU report

Government support softens pandemic impact on mental health

Luxembourg recorded the lowest number of full and partial lockdown days, which contributed to its positive feedback in the report.  Photo: Shutterstock.

Luxembourg recorded the lowest number of full and partial lockdown days, which contributed to its positive feedback in the report.  Photo: Shutterstock.

The impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the mental health of young people was felt everywhere including Luxembourg. But a report backed by the European Commission gave a positive assessment of the efforts made by the grand duchy’s authorities to provide assistance.

The report, released on 10 October--World Mental Health Day--highlights that Luxembourg has implemented policy measures in all of the six analysed fields: healthcare, education, information, youth work, leisure and sport. Luxembourg’s national action plan for instance aimed to promote well-being in schools and to give a voice to young people and networking partners. The authorities also made available resources such as posters, booklets and course materials to professionals in the non-formal education sector. Activities adapted to the lockdown were also organised and pedagogical material was provided.

Shorter lockdowns contribute to positive results

Luxembourg recorded the shortest full and partial lockdowns alongside Croatia, France, Iceland and Spain. Meanwhile, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Turkey had the longest lockdowns. Among the most common measures implemented by governments was the reinforcement of psychological support in schools, both by increasing the number of psychologists and counsellors available to students as well as training school staff to recognise and address signs of mental distress.

“I am delighted to see that the EU Member States are taking this challenge seriously, and that they have set measures to support young people in particular at school. These efforts need to continue to enable young people to thrive, now and in the years to come, and the Commission will always be here to provide support,” said EU commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.

Mental health in the limelight

The report states that the pandemic has had an “unprecedented impact on the mental health of young people”. It also points to a Eurobarometer survey from May 2022 which indicates that in 16 of 27 EU member states, young people consider improving youth mental and physical health and wellbeing the most important priority for the European Year of Youth 2022. The topic of mental health has come to the forefront in Luxembourg as well. On 29 April, a petition requesting public health insurer CNS to refund psychotherapy was deemed receivable. A few days later, it had already nearly reached the 4,500 target needed to trigger a parliamentary debate. However, in September negotiations between national health fund CNS and psychotherapy federation Fapsylux on the possible reimbursement of psychotherapy services broke down. The CNS stated that it hopes to be able to continue the negotiations in the future in order for the coverage of psychotherapists’ services to be made possible in 2023.