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World Mental Health Day observed.

ISLAMABAD, October 10, 2010 (Balochistan Times): Like other parts of the globe, World Mental Health Day was also observed in Pakistan on Sunday to raise public awareness about mental health issues and seeking attention of high ups for more investments in prevention and treatment services for this problem. Several activities were arranged by public and private medical institutions and organizations including seminars, workshops and group discussions on the issue for education, awareness and advocacy of people. Medical experts in these events stressed the need to deal with mental health problems of people with chronic physical illnesses and physical care of mental health consumers through a continued and integrated care. They said mental health promotion requires multi-sectoral action, involving a number of government sectors and non-governmental or community-based organizations. The focus should be on promoting mental health throughout the lifespan to ensure a healthy start in life for children and to prevent mental disorders in adulthood and old age, they stressed. They added in most countries, particularly low- and middle-income countries, mental health services are severely short of resources both human and financial. Of the health care resources available, most are currently spent on the specialized treatment and care of the people with mental illness, and to a lesser extent on an integrated mental health system. They urged that instead of providing care in large psychiatric hospitals, there is a need to integrate mental health into primary health care, provide mental health care in general hospitals and develop community-based mental health services. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that more than 75% of people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders including nearly 95 million people with depression and more than 25 million people with epilepsy living in developing countries do not receive any treatment or care. An estimated one in four people globally will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. People with mental, neurological and substance use disorders are often stigmatized and subject to neglect and abuse. The resources available are insufficient, inequitably distributed and inefficiently used. In the majority of countries, less than 2% of health funds are spent on mental health due to which, a large majority of people with these disorders receive no care at all. The day was celebrated first time in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation of Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries. Mental health is not just the absence of mental disorder. It is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community, Dr. Waseem Khawaja from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) said. On the occasion of the World Mental Health Day, WHO has launched its Mental Health Gap Intervention Guide (mhGAP-IG). Millions of people with common, but untreated, mental, neurological and substance use disorders can now benefit from new simplified diagnosis and treatment guidelines released by WHO. The guidelines are designed to facilitate the management of depression, alcohol use disorders, epilepsy and other common mental disorders in the primary health-care setting. The intervention guide extends competence in diagnosis and management to non-mental health specialists including doctors, nurses and other health providers. These evidence-based guidelines are presented as flow charts to simplify the process of providing care in the primary health-care setting. WHO in collaboration with partners will provide technical support to countries to implement the guidelines and has already initiated the programme for scaling up care in six countries. The programme will lead to nurses recognizing people suffering with depression in their day to day work and providing psychosocial assistance. Similarly, doctors and medical assistants will be able to treat children with epilepsy. The intervention guide will help scale up care for mental, neurological and substance use disorders - which is the aim of WHO mental health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP). Multiple partners including Member States, UN agencies, research institutes, universities, multilateral agencies, foundations, WHO Collaborating Centres and NGOs under mhGAP Forum have agreed to assist WHO in advocating for improving mental health care and services in developing countries.

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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Oct 10, 2010
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