The current COVID-19 pandemic confronts psychiatric patients and mental health services with unique and severe challenges. In order to identify these trans-national challenges across Europe, an ad-hoc survey was conducted among 23 experts, each answering for one European or aligned country. A number of important themes and issues were raised for the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and mental health services, barriers to service provision and future consequences. A number of key issues were reported by colleagues across several jurisdictions, even though these were at different stages of their national epidemics. Based on these findings, we articulate some important learnings from the early stages of the COVID-19 European pandemic, and highlight key considerations for all countries' mental health services as the current pandemic develops and for future pandemics.