SIP is delighted to announce the launch of the SIP Joint Statement on Pain and Mental Health. A collaborative project between ten different professional and patient organisations working in the field of pain or pain-related and mental health policies.

In Europe there are approximately 740 million people, most of whom experience an episode of severe pain at some point in their life. For approximately 20 percent, that pain persists for longer than three months and will be chronic pain. Therefore, at present, 150 million people are experiencing chronic pain across Europe, approximately equal to the population of France and Germany combined. Chronic pain is more prevalent in women than in men, with some estimates suggesting that women are twice as likely to experience chronic pain as men.

Mental health disorders and chronic pain frequently co-occur and influence each other, creating a vicious cycle of disability. Both pain and mental health conditions cause reduced quality of life, mobility and social participation across the lifespan. When treated in isolation, the treatment of mental health conditions is less successful if patients also have chronic pain, and the treatment of chronic pain is less successful if patients also have a mental health condition. Unfortunately, pain is not routinely assessed or addressed in people with mental health disorders. At the same time, mental health conditions like depression are often underrecognised and thus undertreated in people with chronic pain.

Both chronic pain and mental health conditions are best conceptualised as experiences involving complex interactions between biological, psychological, and social factors. Contemporary management of pain places a large focus on bio-psycho-social assessment and treatment, where all these factors are addressed when relevant to each individual patient.

Recognising and addressing pain in mental health settings and policies are essential to optimise meeting the needs of people with both pain and mental health conditions.The nine recommendations call upon EU and national policy makers to ensure a range of aspects related to pain and mental health are acknowledged in health policy.

To read the full Joint Statement on Pain and Mental Health click here!