Addressing the Global Mental Health Crisis: Insights from the European Parliament Think Tank

Leadership & Ethics | Published: | 6 min read

Addressing the Global Mental Health Crisis: Insights from the European Parliament Think Tank  

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar highlighted the urgent need to address global mental health issues at a Think Tank held at the European Parliament. He discussed innovative solutions, stressed the importance of eliminating societal prejudice, and emphasized the role of wellness practices like yoga and meditation.

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May 22, 2023
Brussels, Belgium

Gurudev at European Parliament 2023 - WFEB Think Tank on Mental Health

The Global Impact of Mental Health Challenges

“More than half of the violence in the world comes from mental health challenges,” warned Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar during a Think Tank held at the European Parliament on 22 May. Amid a then concerning rise in depression, suicide, and other mental health issues, the Think Tank, chaired by Gurudev, aimed to address this escalating global crisis.

“Mental health is one of the greatest challenges the world is facing today. Whether it is in developing or developed countries, in war or peace zones, it is an issue that affects the entire world,” Gurudev articulated. Nevertheless, societal prejudice surrounding mental health created a barrier for those in need, who may have feared judgment that threatened their employment and relationships.

The Societal and Internal Prejudice Around Mental Health

Addressing the prejudice surrounding mental health required a two-fold approach, tackling both societal bias and our own internal prejudices related to gender, religion, class, or caste, according to Gurudev. Key to this approach was the promotion of self-care activities like yoga and meditation, along with real-world social interactions for trauma healing.

“The mission of politics is to ensure the common good, nationally and globally, but we can’t ensure common good based of fear and anger,” warned Alojz Peterle, the former prime minister of Slovenia. Peterle emphasised that a fragmented world bred fragmented people, a condition that inevitably contributed to mental health challenges.

Collaborative Efforts: The Key to Address Mental Health Crisis

“No single organization can handle the mental health crisis alone. Governments, healthcare institutions, and NGOs must join forces to create comprehensive mental health strategies. Together we can create a healthier and more resilient society,” insisted MEP Ryszard Czarnecki. Echoing his sentiment, the Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski discussed a nationwide mental health plan implemented across Poland, offering free assistance for individuals experiencing mental health crises.

Role of Meditation in Mental Health

“Meditation is crucial for mental peace,” advised Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, in the event that witnessed the participation of over 200 mental health experts, stakeholders, academicians, policymakers, and members of the European Parliament.

Highlighting the potential of integrating conventional methods with Ayurveda, meditation, and breathing techniques, Gurudev underscored that such practices could regulate emotions and thoughts, reduce anxiety, and eliminate stress and tension.

Mental Health Initiatives in India

H.E. Mr Santosh Jha, Ambassador of India to Belgium, the EU and Luxembourg, introduced the attendees to India’s approach to mental health, including the nation’s traditional solutions. He emphasized that India’s ancient practices could be instrumental in the global mental health scenario.

Highlighting the government’s efforts, Jha mentioned the Mental Healthcare Act passed in India in 2017. He stressed the need for ‘traffic rules’ in our fast-paced life, rules that Gurudev could provide to navigate the “very fast changing environment around us.”

The Call to Destigmatize Mental Health Illnesses

“A sad face should not be allowed to exist because each one of us should take responsibility to bring the factor of happiness, then we can make society a better place,” Gurudev emphasized, underscoring the pressing need to destigmatize mental health illnesses and create a supportive environment.

The event underscored the necessity for collective efforts to address the mental health crisis, as well as an enlightened approach towards mental health to ensure the common good. It became clear that a collaborative, multi-faceted strategy was vital to addressing the burgeoning global mental health crisis.

Quotes by Gurudev: Key Highlights

Mental health is one of the biggest challenge the world is facing today, whether it is in the developing countries or in the developed countries, in the war zone or in the place where there is a lot of peace.

On mental health challenges

Unless a person comes out and tells that they need help or they are not mentally okay, you cannot treat them and to admit that they have an issue with the mind in itself is a very big challenge today.

On societal prejudice against mental health

Stress is one of the biggest cause for mental health, mental illness. To relieve stress and to have a healthy balanced and emotionally physically mentally healthy life, it needs a little bit of work and attention.

On stress as a root cause

Neither in school nor at home we are taught anything about our mind, there is no education about mental hygiene.

On mental hygiene education

When it comes to gun violence, it appears more than half of those violences are because of mental health crisis.

On gun violence and mental health

We harboring ourselves gender prejudice, racial prejudices, religious prejudices, and class and class prejudice. We have to get out of these prejudiced intellect.

On prejudice and barriers

Healthy habits, wellness is the buzz word today in the industry, in business. The yoga and meditation are a part of this wellness programs that the world is adopting.

On wellness and healthy habits

People are just confining themselves to electronic media and not come out and meet with people in real time that also causes huge trauma.

On social interaction

Dialogue is the language of modern society and it should be the language of a civilized society. Somewhere when the dialogues are taking back seat, it indicates there is a serious mental health issue.

On societal dialogues

A stress-free life is essential for a violence-free society and violence-free society is what indicates a healthy human beings both physically and mentally on our planet.

On stress-free and violence-free society

Let’s all together make the world a better place. A society where people are physically fit, mentally alert, and emotionally strong and spiritually uplifted.

On the mission

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