Athens Summit on the Required Actions to Address the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Mental Health and Service Delivery Systems in the WHO European Region

Athens, Greece, 22–23 July 2021

This international meeting is being convened to generate commitment to and proposals for placing mental health at the heart of the economic and social recovery process. It will be an opportunity to take stock of the lessons learned from the pandemic and build on the shared experience of years of mental health reform.

Organized in a hybrid format over 1.5 days, it will bring together health ministers and specialized technical experts to:

  • share Member States’ experiences with the response of mental health services to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • present findings from the work of the technical advisory group on the effects of COVID-19 on mental health; and
  • propose solutions for strengthening mental health and well-being, including mental health resilience, and improving universal health coverage for access to quality mental health services.

The event will be webcast, and simultaneous interpretation will be provided in English, Russian and Greek. Conclusions and recommendations will be put together in an outcome statement to be adopted at the Summit.
WHO/Europe is organizing the Summit in collaboration with the Hellenic Government.


Mental health is a priority of WHO’s European Programme of Work 2020–2025 (EPW). The EPW’s Mental Health Coalition flagship initiative focuses on transforming attitudes around mental health, expediting mental health reforms and accelerating progress towards universal health coverage for people with mental health conditions.

The Summit will be instrumental in consolidating consensus on the WHO European Framework for Action on Mental Health 2021–2025 and the mental health resolution ahead of the 71st session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, as well as the launch of the European Mental Health Coalition.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the critical importance of mental health and elevated it to the global discussion forum. At the request of the WHO Regional Director for Europe, a technical advisory group was established in February 2021 to provide advice and guidance on the key mental health impacts of COVID-19 and critical actions to be taken by Member States in responding to these impacts.