Cyprus is for the first time speaking out about and seeking ways to address mental health conditions and its impact in the workplace, according to the organisers of a mental health awareness event.

House President Annita Demetriou and MEP Loucas Fourlas attended the Europe-Direct event hosted at Larnaca municipality on Saturday, where it revealed that one in two Europeans are faced with mental health conditions.

“We must bring attention to this issue and how we can move forward without taboos on the topic – to speak seriously about what we once hid under the carpet,” Fourlas said.

Representatives of the European Commission and the EU parliament’s office in Cyprus were also present, with Fourlas adding that certain conditions have been exacerbated by the impact of Covid.

A press release stated that the event marks the first time that a discussion has been held on how mental health impacts the daily lives of workers, emphasising the cost of not tackling these issues.

“The significantly increased use of antidepressants, along with work-related stress, is of paramount importance which must immediately be addressed before it develops into a new pandemic,” it added.

For her part, Demetriou welcomed the opportunity to look at ways to tackle the issues which are impacting a significant portion of the public.

Fourlas continued by saying that now is the time to speak up.

“We must highlight the problem and acknowledge the true scale of what we’re facing: half of all Europeans are currently facing some form of mental health conditions,” he warned.

The MEP noted that some illnesses have been exacerbated by Covid and those people must be aided.

“We’re launching this campaign to inform the public about mental health,” he concluded.

Patients have long raised concerns as to how mental health conditions are treated and approached in Cyprus, with recent governments promising improvements in the sector.

It was announced in December 2022 that a new mental health centre is to be created at a cost of €33.2 million.

The former president said that it will include treatment facilities, rehabilitation and reintegration services which will operate with full respect for the dignity and rights of the patients.