A Global Opportunity to Advance Mental Health: Can we grasp it?
Posted on 13/07/2011 | 1 Comments
September 2011 will be an important month for many different reasons. One reason will be especially important for improving mental health across the globe. The United Nations will be holding a special session on Non-Communicable Diseases in New York that month. The purpose of that meeting is to encourage a global response to these diseases, and mental disorders are at the top of the list of diseases causing the greatest burden of illness worldwide. Unfortunately, mental disorders are not at the top of the list of the conveners of this special session. As we are all too familiar, mental disorders are too often not on the list when it comes to health care investment – not only here in Canada but around the world.
We know how important mental health is – in wealthy and in poor countries. It is well documented that mental disorders can lead to poverty, decreased educational attainment, job difficulties, incarceration and a poorer quality of life. They increase the risk for substance abuse (including alcohol and tobacco), a variety of physical illnesses and poor adherence to treatment for a number of different illnesses – including HIV-Aids. Mental disorders are very costly, in both direct (for example, hospital beds) and indirect (for example, decreased work productivity) ways. Effective and cost efficient treatments are available and have recently been catalogued and widely distributed to health providers across the globe by the World Health Organization (if you are interested, google mhGAP). What is now needed is to get mental health on the global health agenda.
And we need your help to do this.
Write your Provincial Minister of Health and the Federal Minister of Health and your local member of Provincial and Federal Parliament. Tell them that you would like them to bring this issue forward at this very important meeting. Ask your friends and neighbors to do the same. Not only may this have an impact at the global level, but it may help in your Province and in Canada as well!