Cost and availability of psychological care for depression and anxiety in Europe

Data on access, copayments, sessions, personnel and waiting lists for psychological care in 26 European countries.


This is the result of an investigation that began in May 2019 and has lasted for many months. Aspasia Daskalopoulou and Monica Georgescu contributed to this work. We started the investigation by soaking up the subject: we interviewed experts and read reports, papers and previous research on the subject. We discovered that there was no data on the reality of access to mental health, and that the official data did not fully reflect the problem. They were superficial. So, we decided to create our own database from scratch. We sent a questionnaire on access to psychological treatment in the national health systems of all the countries of the European Union (including the United Kingdom, since the research was carried out prior to Brexit). We sent the questions to professional organisations of psychiatrists and psychologists in all EU countries, to various mental health non-profit organisations, to mental health experts and to journalists from the European Data Journalism Network. We also sent them to the press offices of all EU health ministries, with the exception of Spain, where we made a public information request. In order to create our database and make it as up-to-date and rigorous as possible, we also asked all EU health ministries for the most recent data on psychologists per capita in their national health systems. Finally, we asked national organisations of psychology professionals to give us an estimate of the price ranges in private practices in their respective countries. In parallel, we consulted numerous official reports and statistical sources, from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission (EC), the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), Eurofound, among others. The objective was to verify the information we had and to collect new data to put in context or explain all these barriers to access.

Once we had a first draft of the database, which was refined over the course of several edits by our team members and grew during the reporting phase, we interviewed mental health experts, psychiatrists, psychologists, activists, people with mental health conditions, and their relatives, to gather first person testimonies.

In the estimates of co-payments and prices for private consultations, we used minimum wages as of the last semester of 2020, from Eurostat, except in the case of Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden, where we used extrapolations based on collective bargaining agreements from a Eurofound report, given that they do not have a general minimum wage. Furthermore, as there is no maximum limit on annual working hours, we calculated these data with an estimate of 1,720 hours per year for all countries, the figure used by the EC to calculate annual working hours for scholarships and grants in the Horizon 2020 programme.

Type: CSV

Time range: 2021

Source: Civio

Last updated on: