Case study: Words to Actions

Optimal care research policy

Working in partnership with leading patient groups and professional societies, HPP developed a multimedia communication initiative to convey the urgency of investing in depression.


Across Europe, 40 million people are living with depression. It can affect every aspect of a person’s life, from health and relationships to education and employment. And by 2030, it is set to become the biggest cause of disease burden in high-income countries. Many governments have recognised the importance of addressing depression – but the resources committed to create lasting change remain insufficient. In 2018, nine leading mental health organisations came together to engage policymakers in this pressing cause and move from words to actions.


HPP was approached to develop a policy report co-authored by the nine organisations. Alongside desk research, the report is largely based on interviews with people who had established effective programmes to tackle depression, and makes 10 recommendations that provide a concrete framework for a sustainable policy response. In addition, HPP was tasked with raising awareness of the issues raised in the policy report. We supported one of the organisations involved to set up a dedicated website for the Words to Actions initiative, and created additional materials to support ongoing dissemination of the recommendations.


The Words to Actions report was launched at the European Parliament in December 2018, gaining support from a number of MEPs. HPP set up a dedicated Twitter account to communicate its messages, and created an animated film which was launched on World Mental Health Day 2020. We also developed a series of summary posters highlighting key topics in depression. The project has evolved to a next phase which involves engaging with stakeholders in four countries to assess national-level performance based on the report recommendations, and build these into national scorecards on depression.