MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind, and Pain

The  first 2019 meeting  of the MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind, and Pain was  hosted  by  MEP  Jeroen  Lenaers  –  in  conjunction  with  the  European Federation  of  Neurological  Associations EFNA  and  Pain  Alliance  Europe PAE  –  on Wednesday,  March  6th ,   at  the  European  Parliament in Brussels. The theme chosen for this first Interest Group meeting was:

Fighting Discrimination at Work for those affected by neurological disorders and chronic pain conditions

The stigma and discrimination attached to long-term neurological disorders and chronic pain conditions  in  working  age  citizens  can  seriously  impact  their  employment  opportunities. Those affected can find it difficult to find and/or maintain employment not only because of the  physical,  cognitive  or  behavioural  problems  linked  to  their  disorder,  but  also  due  to stigma  and  discrimination  in  professional  settings.

The  subsequent  unemployment  and under-employment are  factors  that  can  have  a  profound  impact  on  self-esteem,  mental health and social interaction and, ultimately, feed isolation and discrimination.

At  this  meeting,  our  expert  speakers  and  panellists  presented  the  impact  of  these disorders,  in  relation  to  the  ability  of  those  affected  to  access  and  retain  suitable employment.  Theree case-studies were presented:

Case-Study 1: Migraine

Elena Ruiz de la Torre, Executive Director, European Migraine and Headache Alliance

Case-Study 2: Chronic Pain

Joop van Griensven, President, Pain Alliance Europe

Case-Study 3: Multiple Sclerosis 

Elisabeth Kasilingam, Managing Director, European Multiple Sclerosis Platform

They then informed about current initiatives being rolled-out in this space which  could  lessen  the  burden. The panel discussions debated on how the MEP Interest Group could collaborate with such work/partners to advance our policy recommendations in this field – with support from the European Institutions. 

Mrs. Joke Jaarsma, EFNA’s President, presented the recommendations of the MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind, and Pain on the topic, included in the Book of Evidence – the updated collection of recommendations and complete presentations of the activities of the group for the new mandate 2019-2024.

Mrs. Emmanuelle Grange, Head of Unit, Disability and Inclusion in DG Employment was the closing keynote speaker. She stressed on the importance of awareness raising campaigns and informed on the relevant EU initiatives in this field.

The meeting was closed by PAE President, Joop van Griensven who invited the audience to consult the Book of Evidence in it’s updated edition and to work together throughout the election period to invite and vote for the candidates who support the cause of the BMP group.

The full report of the event as well as links to all presentations can be found on the Brain, Mind and Pain website.

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