For several years now, mental health has been a key topic for the city of Nantes, as a board member of the WHO’s French “Healthy Cities” network. The city is also one of the first local authorities to sign a Local Health Contract including a Local Mental Health Council.

Although the health crisis allowed us to identify and highlight mental health problems, there is still a lack of awareness, in addition to insufficient investment and significant stigma surrounding mental disorders. Today, one person in four is confronted with a mental disorder in the course of their life.

In light of this situation, the international Cities & Mental Health conference aims to change the way society considers mental health in cities by examining links with social and environmental determinants: urban planning, architecture, the environment, arts, sport and, more generally, interaction with all local public policies.

As the first of its kind due to its interdisciplinary approach and international scale, the conference will bring together a host of leading figures in the field of health, experts with diverse profiles (scientists, urban planners, architects, anthropologists, etc.), high-ranking elected officials from France and abroad, as well as heads of associations, business leaders and research-active faculty.

© Nantes Métropole
Coupe de France 2022 final


Despite extensive media coverage following the health crisis, mental health issues remain highly misunderstood. The stigma related to mental health disorders is often more damaging than the issue itself and can make access to healthcare difficult. By bringing disciplines together, the Conference aims to raise awareness about mental health and its associated problems to better understand it and support vulnerable populations.


As the first of its kind due to its interdisciplinary approach and international scale, the international Cities & Mental Health conference aims to change the way mental health is considered in our cities by becoming the crossroads of disciplines that are essential to social and environmental well-being. The conference will explore the links between mental health and urban planning, temporality, work, art and sport in local public policies.


The International Cities & Mental Health Conference will bring together a great number of recognised professionals from very different backgrounds. The diversity of the profiles of the acknowledged experts from France and abroad (scientists, urban planners, architects, anthropologists, high-ranking elected officials, etc.) and of their presentations promises a rich multidisciplinary event, with a focus on exchange of views and inspiration for participants.

Raise awareness

Cities have long been involved in proactive health policies and are committed to addressing this social and human challenge. They are claiming their position as catalysts in addressing mental health issues. The Conference also aims to call on public authorities to ensure that mental health is understood in light of the issues at stake and that their role is not only recognised, but also consolidated and reinforced. For the launch of the “Nantes Appeal”, signatory cities will urge local elected officials to commit to promoting mental health by extending the scope of their remit.

Mental Health

  • According to the WHO, 1 in 4 Europeans is affected by mental disorders in their lifetime.
  • 64% of French people say they have already experienced a psychological disorder or mental suffering; that figure increases to 75% in the under-35 age group.
  • In France, it is estimated that 15% of 10-20-year-olds need follow-up or care.
  • 9,300 suicides and 200,000 suicide attempts per year, i.e. 24 deaths per day.
  • Psychiatry accounts for 2.4 million people treated in healthcare facilities.
  • 40% to 60% of people are not treated.
  • Depression is a common psychiatric illness: it affects more than 300 million people worldwide.
  • 7.5% of French people aged 15 to 85 have suffered from depression in the last 12 months.
  • The expenses covered by the health insurance system for psychiatric illnesses and the consumption of psychotropic drugs reached 23.4 billion euros in 2021, i.e. the largest item of expenditure for the health insurance system, ahead of cancers and cardiovascular diseases.
  • The economic and social cost of mental disorders is estimated at 109 billion euros.
  • Mental health research receives only 4.1% of the budget allocated to health research.
  • 5 mental illnesses among the 10 major pathologies of the 21st century.
  • Life expectancy reduced by 9 years on average.2nd cause of sick leave in France, 1st cause of invalidity and long-term stoppage.

Sources: WHO and Mutualité Française (French Federation of Mutual Insurers)