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.