Saturday, August 13, 2022

PAHO Establishes High-Level Commission On Mental Health & COVID-19

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On Friday Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), launched the High-level Commission on Mental Health and COVID-19.

The commission will prepare guidelines and recommendations to reduce the impact on mental health caused by the pandemic, and the related suffering in the population of the Region.

The report is expected to be completed in the last quarter of 2022.

The commission’s work will focus on five key areas: recovering from the pandemic and promoting mental health as a priority; the mental health needs of vulnerable populations; integrating mental health into universal health coverage; financing; and promoting the prevention of mental health conditions.

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“We must seize the opportunity afforded by the pandemic to address long-standing weaknesses in mental health services and strengthen them for the future,” said Dr. Etienne, thanking the commissioners for their work and commitment.

And she emphasised that  now is the time to build better mental health in the Americas.

The High-level Commission on Mental Health and COVID-19 is chaired by Epsy Campbell Barr, Vice President of Costa Rica, and co-chaired by Néstor Méndez, Assistant Director General of the Organization of American States (OAS).

It is also made up of leaders of health organizations, civil society, academics, and people with direct experience in the subject.

The Commission Chair called for “urgently addressing mental health” and “taking steps to prevent and respond to domestic violence, including mental health services for survivors.

A scientific dossier published by the WHO reported that the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by 25% in the first year of the  COVID-19 pandemic.

A PAHO analysis also noted that one-third of people who suffered from COVID-19 in the Region were diagnosed with a neurological or mental disorder, while another study conducted with the support from PAHO showed that, in 2020, between 14.7% and 22% of health personnel in the Region presented symptoms of depression.

Source:  Pan American Health Organization/SLT

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

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