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Promote mental health and well-being to reduce inequalities and achieve universal health coverage

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Promote mental health and well-being to reduce inequalities and achieve universal health coverage

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only had a medical impact, but has also had an impact on people’s mental health

BRAZZAVILLE, Congo (Republic of), October 12, 2021 / Groupe APO / –

Mauritius celebrated World Mental Health Day 2021 under the theme “Mental health in an unequal world” on October 09, 2021 at the Mahébourg hospital in the presence of the Minister of Health and Welfare, Dr Hon. Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, Private Parliamentary Secretary, Ms. T. Jutton, Member of Parliament, Mr. R. Doolub, World Health Organization Representative in Mauritius, Dr. L. Musango, and others including the health personnel from the Mahébourg hospital.

Dr Hon. Jagutpal, in his speech, said mental health has always been associated with stigma. He added: “93,000 patients and more than 3,200 people were admitted to Brown Sequard Psychiatric Hospital in 2020 in Mauritius. The Minister of Health and Wellness highlighted the fact that children also suffer from mental health issues and that 224 patients with mental health issues under the age of 18 were admitted for treatment last year.

Globally, 450 million people suffer from mental health problems while over 700,000 people suffer from mental illness, including suicide.

“12 psychologists and 24 psychiatrists have been recruited with a view to strengthening national mental health services and the necessary resources have been mobilized for the recruitment of additional psychologists to be assigned to the different ministries,” said Dr Hon Jagutpal.

Mauritius has decentralized psychiatric services to all regional hospitals to reach a larger number of island people. The same services are gradually being set up at the level of Mediclinics. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is also focusing on training health personnel to improve the quality of mental health care.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has not only had a medical impact, but has also had an impact on people’s mental health,” said Dr Hon. Jagutpal.

Dr Laurent Musango, WHO Representative in Mauritius, called for the development of a national mental health strategy in line with the WHO Global Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030, recently approved by the World Health Assembly. He added that concerted actions are needed to promote mental health and well-being for all and prevent mental health problems for those at risk and achieve universal coverage of mental health services.

“World Mental Health Day should not be limited to an awareness program. Rather, it should be an opportunity to empower people to take care of their own mental health and better support those with mental health issues, ”said Dr Musango.

“Depression is one of the biggest mental health problems in the world as one in seven people aged 10 to 19 suffers from mental health problems worldwide. It is therefore important to detect cases of mental health problems for appropriate treatment, ”added Dr Musango. Many mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia can be treated successfully.

“We need to respond to the growing demand for mental health services, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and work to reduce the stigma associated with mental health, discrimination and human rights issues,” said the WHO representative, who commended Dr Hon Jagutpal for prioritizing mental health on the national health agenda and for mobilizing the necessary resources to strengthen the national mental health program. Investing in mental health not only has a positive impact not only on health, but also on the economy and society in general.

Other speakers emphasized the need to eradicate the stigma and stereotypes associated with mental health problems. The population should be made aware of the mental health services available and how to detect mental health problems in the family for prompt treatment.

The Department of Health and Welfare and WHO have collaborated jointly to produce five brochures on different mental health issues, namely depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, suicide prevention and bipolar disorder. The leaflets launched on this occasion will be widely distributed to raise awareness about mental health issues and where to seek support.

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