The main aim of this guidance of the European Psychiatric Association is to provide evidence-based recommendations on the quality of mental health services in Europe. The recommendations were derived from a systematic search of the best available evidence in the scientific literature, supplemented by information from documents retrieved upon reviewing the identified articles. While most recommendations could be based on empirical studies (although of varying quality), some had to be based on expert opinion alone, but were deemed necessary as well. Another limitation was that the wide variety of service models and service traditions for the mentally ill worldwide often made generalisations difficult. In spite of these limitations, we arrived at 30 recommendations covering structure, process and outcome quality both on a generic and a setting-specific level. Operationalisations for each recommendation with measures to be considered as denominators and numerators are given as well to suggest quality indicators for future benchmarking across European countries. Further pan-European research will need to show whether the implementation of this guidance will lead to improved quality of mental healthcare, and may help to develop useful country-specific cutoffs for the suggested quality indicators.