BRUSSELS, June 7 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Wednesday it would allocate 1.23 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to mental health initiatives across the 27-member European Union and make mental health a pillar of health policy.
"Today marks a new beginning for a comprehensive, prevention-oriented and multi-stakeholder approach to mental health at EU level," Stella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner for health and food safety, said in a statement.
"We need to break down stigma and discrimination so that those in need can reach out and receive the support they need.
The Commission said mental health problems already impacted around 84 million people before the COVID-19 pandemic with an economic cost of about 600 billion euro a year, or 4% of the bloc's GDP.
At a press conference, Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas called it a "silent epidemic" and said the topic was the last piece in the European Health Union "puzzle".
Stella Kyriakides, Margaritis Schinas, Julia Payne, Mark Potter
European, European Union, EU, European Health Union, Mental Health, Thomson
BRUSSELS, Ukraine, EU