The EU has been urged to consider the mental health consequences of its economic recovery plans.
Experts from health, social affairs, education and employment sectors took part in a high level meeting in Brussels to discuss the psychosocial aspects of the economic crisis.
A panel of experts, chaired by EuroHealthNet, stressed that these psychosocial factors should be addressed before member states implement their recovery plans, including the consequences for health systems, determinants and inequalities.
Regardless of the economic crisis, mental health problems will be the greatest epidemiological crisis of the 21st century, it was suggested.
The WHO said that current surveys of states has shown that the economic crisis has had little impact on public health systems so far.
Ensuring the health of the population can help stabilise the currently uncertain financial situation in many countries, and a stronger focus on health promotion will result in future economic benefits, the WHO added.
The conference recommended that the EU takes action to enhance the resilience of individuals and communities, and the development of social and mental capital as a form of immunisation and antidote.
Policies to help child development were recommended as a priority, and the conference also discussed improving existing sustainable development policies and the need for well-being strategies in the workplace.