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EACEA National Policies Platform


7. Health and Well-Being

7.5 Mental health

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. National strategy(ies)
  2. Improving the mental health of young people

National strategy

In Denmark, equality in health (care) is considered pivotal to enjoying a standard of living and well-being that is considered normal in society. However, there is no strategy on equality in health. Rather, equality in health (care) is a fundamental underlying principle in all measures in the Danish healthcare system.

In September 2022, a large majority in Parliament agreed on a 10-year plan for the psychiatric system and mental health.


The 10-year plan identifies 5 focus areas:

  1. Development of a municipal measure within easy reach targeting children and young people with symptoms of mental health issues
  2. Enhanced measures targeting people with severe mental illness
  3. Information and an anti-stigmatising campaign
  4. Strengthened cross-disciplinary and evidence-based environments
  5. Improved conditions for research in the prevention and treatment of mental illness


The following goals in the plan target children and young people:

  • Children and young people’s mental health must improve 
  • More children and young people with mental illness must complete lower and upper secondary education programmes
  • Children and young people experience timely and sufficient support
  • More socially marginalised children and young people with psychiatric diagnoses thrive


  • The agreement allocates DKK 0.5 billion annually from 2023 onwards

The Ministry of the Interior and Health of Denmark is the top-level authority for this programme.



Action plan for the psychiatric field 2018-2025

In September 2018, the former government launched an action plan for psychiatry up until 2025. As of June 2019, the action plan is no longer in effect, but many initiatives in the action plan are currently being implemented.

The title of the action plan is ‘We Accomplish Together. An Overall Action Plan for Psychiatry up until 2025’ (Vi løfter i fællesskab. En samlet handlingsplan for psykiatrien frem mod 2025). It was, among other things, based on a rise in Danes with mental problems. In the national health profile survey from 2017, one out of five people in the 16–24-year age group experiences poor mental well-being.


In the action plan, the government established 43 initiatives divided in six focus areas:

  • More people are reached with early and accessible measures
  • The competences of the staff are upgraded
  • The quality in social psychiatry is improved
  • The most ill patients receive better and intensive treatment
  • More coherence in the course of treatment
  • More research and innovation

In the action plan, the government established 43 initiatives divided in six focus areas:

  • By 2025, the share of young people with poor mental health must be reduced by 25%
  • By 2025, the use of force in psychiatric treatments must be reduced by 50% compared to the 2017 level.
  • By 2025, the number of people with poor mental health trying to commit suicide must be reduced.
  • By 2025, the number of acute readmissions of psychiatric patients must be reduced by 15%.
  • By 2025, the number of psychiatric patients who were in employment 1 month before the hospitalisation and again 6 months after the hospitalisation must be increased by 10%.
  • More people who are subject to a measure regarding social problems or psychiatric difficulties in the Act on Social Services (Lov om social service, LBK nr 1287 af 28/08/2020) must be in education or employment.

The target group was, amongst others, young people with mental problems


Improving the mental health of young people

In 2018, the minister for health established a youth panel to promote mental health among young people. The panel had 10 members in the 20–27-year age group. The panel has held two meetings and four workshops, which resulted in nine recommendations to the minister for health. See section 5.3

In June 2018, the government set up a cross-disciplinary national stress panel. The panel was a cooperation between five ministries and a minister without portfolio: the Ministry of the Interior and Health of Denmark, the Ministry of Employment, The Ministry of Social Affairs and the Interior (now the Ministry of Social Affairs, Housing and Senior Citizens), the Ministry of Children and Education, the Minister for equal opportunities and the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. In April 2019, the panel presented 12 actions aimed at preventing stress in the population.

In 2021, the pilot project with free psychological counselling for young people in the 18-24 age group suffering from moderate depression and anxiety became a permanent measure. DKK 22.8 million was allocated in 2021, and from 2022, DKK 47.2 million will be allocated annually.


In the 2019–2022 Rate Adjustment Pool Agreement (Satspuljeaftalen) within the area of health, young people’s mental health is in focus in the following funding allocations:

The counselling offer Headspace targets young people in the 12–25-year age group with emerging mental health problems. Headspace is a free and anonymous offer for young people who need someone to talk too. Young people can phone, send an e-mail, chat, or drop by without an appointment. The idea behind Headspace is to establish one point of entry for counselling, and Headspace can guide and counsel the young person regarding municipal or regional offers. Furthermore, the idea behind Headspace is to help young people with problems before the problems become insurmountable or demand a measure in the social system or the health system.

A majority in parliament decided to fund Headspace with DKK 51.5 million for 2021-2024 with funding from the national reserve for social affairs, health and labour market initiatives (SSA-reserven).