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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(ies)

The main policy document in relation to health, including mental health, is the National Health Plan 2009–2020 (Rahvatervise arengukava 2009-2020). A new National Health Plan for the years 2020-2030 is sent by the Government to the Parliament to be confirmed.

Please see chapter 7.4. for detailed information on the plan.


Improving the mental health of young people

In the framework of the Public Health Initiatives coordinated by the Ministry of Social Affairs, several projects on children and youth mental health were initiated during the period 2011-2016 supported by Norway Grants.

Most notably:

In total under the Public Health Initiative 2011-2016, the following results were achieved:

  • Integrated services concept for children´s mental health
  • 4 mental health centres
  • 4 mental health counselling offices
  • 3 web portals - Peaasi, Enesetunne, Amor
  • 4 smartphone apps were developed for preventing self-harm and suicidal behaviourdepression and sleeping problems.
  • 958 people received training on public health topics
  • 1 015 youth attended mental health lectures
  • 6 535 e-counselling
  • 2 social campaigns were carried out about alcohol harms and tolerance about heavy alcohol drinking  - Uncle Alco and Passive drinking
  • 2 rehabilitation programs for providing long-term rehabilitation service for children with severe mental health problems

Another project “Improving the Support System for Children and Youth at Risk” developed a cross-sectoral support system to alleviate risks affecting children and youth and improved the well-being of children and youth. Two evidence-based programs - positive parenting program „Incredible Years“ and family-based intervention program MDFT were adapted and are now implemented in Estonia. The Concept for Improving the Support System for Children and Youth at Risk was compiled by the Ministry of Social Affairs. The document describes the main challenges in establishing the cross-sectoral (healthcare, legal protection, education, welfare system, etc.) support system for children and youth at risk, and recommends the most vital courses of action to the state for the purposes of ensuring the more streamlined operation and smoother co-operation.

Two evidence-based programmes supporting the mental health of young people are also implemented in Estonian schools:

  • KiVa programme is a bullying prevention programme developed in Finland that uses a whole-school approach. Its components aim to affect skills, behaviour and classroom and school climate and have a positive impact on children's social and emotional well-being.
  • The PAX Good Behaviour Game (PAX GBG) is a universal classroom-based programme that reduces behavioural and emotional problems, prevents the use of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs and improves educational attainment. In addition, several initiatives and science-based programmes are used at schools and curricula-based activities carried out to support students mental health.

Another important initiative to highlight is Estonian Mental Health and Well-Being Coalition (VATEK), which was established in 2012 by the initiative of the Estonian-Swedish Mental Health and Suicidology Institute (ERSI) and the support of the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs. It is an independent public interest foundation, which brings together mental health organisations across Estonia. VATEK has grown to a network of 38 organizations related to mental health (non-governmental organisations, public sector organisations, professional organisations and trade companies). The main objectives of VATEK are to promote the Estonian population's mental health and well-being and enhance the development of mental health policy and legislation.