The European Society of Social Psychiatry (ESSP) was established by its members as described in the present statutes.

English is the working language of the ESSP.

The ESSP is basically an association of associations. It is a not- for -profit non-governmental organization.



The ESSP has the following aims and objectives:

  • to promote greater understanding of the interactions between individuals and their physical and human environment (including their society and culture), and the impact of these interactions on the clinical expression, treatment of mental and behavioural problems and disorders and their prevention;
  • to promote mental health through  education  of health workers, policy makers and decision makers and  the community at large;
  • to promote national and international collaboration among professionals and societies in Social Psychiatry and related disciplines;
  • to carry out or promote research that can facilitate the understanding of the interaction between social factors, psychological functioning and mental health or illness;
  • to create partnerships with professionals of other scientific disciplines, international agencies and NGOs working in fields related to social psychiatry;
  • to  organize, lead and promote relevant European and other congresses and scientific meetings in Social Psychiatry.

Methods of work:

The ESSP will organize  a  European Congress of Social Psychiatry every three years. It will also organize ad hoc, European, regional and local congresses and co-sponsored conferences and meetings that will facilitate the achievements of its goals.

It could promote the interest in social aspects of psychiatry by the work of Scientific Sections, by the publication of a newsletter, the maintenance of a website, by organizing and coordinating research studies, and through  other relevant means.


Head Office

The head office is located in the working institution of the ESSP president or his/her address. It can be transferred by simple decision of the Executive Committee. The Member Societies are then informed about this decision. The Executive Committee may propose the establishment of a permanent office for the ESSP in a city of its choice for the agreement of the General Assembly.


Membership and loss of membership

The ESSP is composed of Member societies and Affiliate societies.

Member Societies:
These are European societies with an interest in Social and/or Community Psychiatry stated in their statutes. National associations of Social and/or Community  Psychiatry that share the objectives of the ESSP will be admitted  as a provisional Member Society  after approval  by the  ESSP Executive Committee of a written application and on payment of annual dues to the ESSP. Applications approved by the Executive Committee  will be submitted for final approval to the next General Assembly (which will decide on the matter by a simple majority of votes of those present and voting).

Affiliation with other societies:
the Executive Committee may, from time to time, establish collaborative agreements with other national and international societies. The ESSP maintains permanent affiliation with WASP, EPA and WPA.

Individual psychiatrists, who are not able, for any reason, to join member societies, may be admitted to the ESSP as individual members without voting right in the General Assembly.

Loss of Membership.
 Membership may be lost by:

  • Dissolution of the Member Society or the Affiliate Society;
  • By resignation of the society submitted in writing by its legal representative;
  • By resignation of the individual member submitted in writing by himself;
  • For a grave reason of a moral nature. In such cases, the  Member Society will be  invited, by a  letter to state its views about the matter in question to the Executive Committee. The Executive committee will report on the matter and may propose to the  General Assembly  to terminate the membership of a society or an individual member. The Assembly will make a final decision on the matter by a simple majority of those present and voting. There will be no recourse to the Assembly’s decision.

Honorary Fellows:
Individuals who have done extraordinary service in the field of Social Psychiatry may be proposed by the ESSP Executive Committee for an Honorary Fellowship to the General Assembly. The General Assembly will decide on the matter by a simple majority of votes of those present and voting. Honorary Fellows pay no fee to the ESSP and have no voting right.
Honorary fellowships may be lost by death, resignation or in exceptional circumstances. If such occur, the Executive Committee will invite the honorary fellow to state his/her views in writing.  The Executive committee will then provide a report and make a proposal to the General Assembly and the General Assembly will make a final decision on the matter by a simple majority of those present and voting.


Resources of the ESSP

The financial resources of the ESSP can come from:

  • annual fees paid by Member Societies and individual members;
  • benefits from European congresses of Social Psychiatry and other congresses and scientific meetings organized by the ESSP,
  • subsidies compensating the provision of technical expertise provided by the ESSP;
  • grants for specific projects in line with the aims and objectives of the ESSP;
  • donations by private or public institutions or individuals.

The assets of the ESSP will be utilized solely to meet its financial liabilities. The Executive Committee will be responsible for the financial management of the ESSP in accordance with the ESSP plans and budget. It will submit its accounts and a detailed report of its management to the General Assembly for approval.

Expenditures may include support for the establishment and functioning of a Secretariat, for meetings of the Executive Committee and other committees, for publications, internet and other informational services for the ESSP and for special projects carried out by various ESSP components.

Members of the Executive Committee, the Council, other officers will not be paid any salary or fee for their services to the ESSP, nor will they be personally liable for debts incurred by the Association. Executive Committee members will be entitled to reimbursement of travel and incidental expenses incurred while carrying out duties for the ESSP. The members of the Executive Committee, as well as the President’s advisors, are entitled to a secretarial support commensurate to their activities requiring such support.


The Council

The Council is composed of past-presidents of the ESSP, the immediate past-Secretary general and immediate past-Secretary for Finances. The Council advises the President of the ESSP and through him/her the General Assembly of the ESSP and its Executive Committee. It is chaired by the immediate past president of the ESSP. The Council members will be informed of the action of the Executive Committee, and  ESSP’s plan of work. Between the meetings of the Council, the chairperson of the Council has the duty to ensure that the suggestions of the members of the Council as well as the Council’s decisions are conveyed to the ESSP President in a timely fashion.


The Executive Committee

The Executive Committee (EC) implements the decisions of the General Assembly, and administrates the ESSP resources. The EC is elected by the General Assembly for a period of 3 years. It starts its work at the end of the European Congress of Social Psychiatry during which the General Assembly took place. The EC is composed of 5 members of impeccable ethical and technical standing in the field of social psychiatry.

Members stand for and are elected to specific positions with responsibilities as follows:

The President chairs the EC meetings and decides, after consultation with the other members of the EC, on the agenda of each meeting. The President represents the ESSP in every administrative or judicial matter. The President chairs the General Assembly of the ESSP where he/she will report on the activities of the ESSP in the interim between congresses. No past-president can be candidate again for any position of the ESSP EC. The chairperson of the Council may be invited by the EC to attend its meetings. If invited, he/she will not have the right to vote on issues before the committee.

The President-Elect supports the efforts of the president, replaces him/her in case of absence, and prepares the ESSP draft plan of work for the next triennium.

The Secretary General leads the administrative team, and takes care of the archives of the ESSP and its secretarial matters, especially the minutes of the EC meetings. The Secretary General presents a report to the General Assembly on the administrative matters of the ESSP.

The Secretary for Education promotes and proposes educational activity in the field of social psychiatry by programming and supporting courses, seminars, scientific events and e-learning. Preparation and dissemination of documents, papers and other educational and informative material are among the tasks of the Secretary for Education.

The Secretary for Finances, in collaboration with the President, is responsible for the finances of the ESSP, collects the fees of the Member Societies and the individual members. The Secretary for Finances keeps the accounting of the ESSP up-to-date and presents the financial report to the General Assembly. All expenses by the ESSP must be authorized by the EC. The accounts of the ESSP must be audited before each General Assembly.

The EC appoints the members of the ad hoc committees and task forces as needed. The EC must meet in person at least once a year. Teleconferences, or ad-hoc meetings, as far as possible, should be conducted at least once every two months. Should a vacancy arise within the EC, a replacement fulfilling the required criteria for the post will be appointed by the remaining members of the Committee to act in a temporary capacity until the next General Assembly. Acting in this way will not prevent the person who has been serving as a co-opted member of the EC to present his/her candidature for election as a member of the EC or its President.


General Assembly

The General Assembly is the governing body of the ESSP. It determines the direction of the ESSP, confirms membership and ratifies the membership dues proposed by the EC. It is composed of delegates of Member Societies, who are up to date with their membership fees. It meets on the occasion of the World Congress. Member Societies will be informed of the date, and venue of the meeting at least six months prior to the meeting and receive the Agenda two months before the Assembly’s meeting.  The President, assisted by the members of the EC, chairs the Assembly and presents the President’s report. The Secretary General presents an administrative and activity report. The Secretary for Finances presents the financial report. The General Assembly will be considered valid when at least 15% of member societies are represented when the General Assembly opens its meeting. Member societies will vote on issues presented during the Assemblies of the ESSP in accordance with their voting power. The voting power of each member society is 1 vote on all matters except the election of the members of the EC where voting power is proportional to the number of paid-up members registered to the ESSP as follows:

  • Up to 100 members 1 vote
  • 101 to 200 members 2 votes
  • 201- 300 members 3 votes
  • 301-400 members 4 votes
  • 401 and more members 5 votes

All decisions of the General Assembly except those for election of EC members will be made by a simple majority vote of the Member Societies present. Each member society will be represented by its president or his/her representative. The vote will be expressed by the president of the Member Society or his/her nominee. There will be no voting by proxy.

Members of the Council, chairpersons of the scientific sections, individual members of the ESSP and Honorary Fellows have the right to attend the General Assembly but without voting right.

Observers may attend the general assembly at the invitation of the President but do not contribute to discussions unless invited to do so by the President. They have no voting rights.

The Accreditation Committee validates the delegates of the Member Societies and other participants in the General Assembly and recommends the voting strength allocated to them, in accordance with the Statutes. The Accreditation Committee consists of four members, including the Secretary general who will chair it, the Secretary for Finances and two more members appointed by the President after consultation with the EC, except when any of the above members are themselves candidates for the election.

The Nomination Committee  receives nominations concerning elections for all elective posts of the ESSP. It consists of four members including a chairperson appointed by the EC. Every effort will be made to achieve geographical balance. The members will serve for three years. The Chairperson of the Nomination Committee shall report to the EC. A member of the EC can serve for one term only, except when appointed as the President-Elect (who becomes the President). As much as possible, a geographical balance should be reached in the composition of the EC.

Other committees, Scientific Sections, Task Forces and Special Advisors to the President:
Scientific sections focus on scientific issues relevant to the work of the ESSP. The President may establish scientific sections, Task Forces and Advisors after consultation with the EC for specified tasks till the end of the President’s term. All scientific sections and task forces are renewable. Scientific section with no activity during one term is simply dissolved.

The Extraordinary General Assembly
An Extraordinary General Assembly can be convened to change the statutes of the ESSP or at the request of two-thirds of the Member Societies.



The dissolution of the ESSP must be decided at an Extraordinary General Assembly at the request of the EC, or at the request of more than two-thirds of the Member Societies. The General Assembly will, with a two-thirds majority of Member Societies, order the dissolution of the Association. On liquidation, all sums remaining within the central funds of the ESSP will be distributed in accordance with the decisions of the Extraordinary General Assembly and in harmony with the aims of the ESSP. In case of dissolution, one or several liquidators are appointed by the General Assembly by a simple majority of votes.

Amendment of Statutes and By-laws:
The Statutes of the ESSP may be amended by a two-thirds majority vote taken in the General Assembly and the By-laws by a simple majority of those present and voting.

Recommendations for the change of the Statutes can be made by the EC, the Council and by Member Societies. Any recommendation for a change of the Statutes will be circulated to all Member Societies and has to be submitted to the EC at least nine months before the meeting of the General Assembly.