NGO Fund Project: Improving advocacy and policymaking capacity of the Estonian mental health and wellbeing coalition

NGO Fund supported the activities of the project until March 2014 to April 2016. General objective of the VATEK project was to bring to the community in-depth knowledge of the importance of mental health and well being; to bring mental health problems from grassroots level to policy makers and stakeholders; to develop mental health coalition VATEK as professional and sustainable mental health spokesperson. The main target groups of the project were: mental health service users, mental health professionals, specialists teaching mental health at the universities and colleges, members of the mental health coalition VATEK, policy makers and stakeholders at regional and national level.

Estonian Mental Health and Well-Being Coalition (VATEK) was established on November 25, 2012 by the initiative of the Estonian Swedish Mental Health and Suicidology Institute (ERSI) and support of the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs. By 2016 VATEK has grown to a network of 46 mental health organizations (nongovernmental organizations, public sector organizations, professional organizations, business companies). During the period of project activities 18 new organizations joined the VATEK. Members of the network of VATEK participated monthly in project meetings and 40 people participated in training courses for improving capacity of policy development. As a result of the project activities VATEK has become a professional and sustainable mental health spokesperson having a good cooperation with the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs and organizations in the field on health, social protection, education, defense, etc. From May 2014 to November 2014 VATEK organized information seminars for general public in 15 counties of Estonia (approx. 650 persons participated). The main aim of the information seminars was to disseminate knowledge about positive mental health and to gather grass-root level input for mental health strategy. VATEK organized Mental Health Fairs in Tallinn on the World Mental Health Day in October 10, 2014 and in October 10, 2015. The main aim of the fairs was to raise awareness about promotion and protection of positive mental health and prevention mental health problems. VATEK will organize the mental health fair in October 8, 2016. One of the most significant achievements with expected major impact on mental health of Estonian citizens was the development of the Mental Health Strategy 2016-2025.

A translation of extracts from description of the situation and recommendations from the Mental Health Strategy for 2016-2025 has been made by the WHO Country Office in Estonia in 2016, please find them HERE.