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On October 10, every year, we commemorate World Mental Health Day with the overall objective being to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide. This year, World Mental Health Day will be commemorated under the theme, “Mental health care for all: Let’s make it a reality.”

Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety are highly prevalent – 15% of the working-age population is affected at any given time. They are also extensively undertreated; globally around 56% of people with depression do not receive appropriate treatment. These disorders contribute significantly to reduced productivity, sickness absences, disability and unemployment, and the total costs of mental ill-health are estimated at 3.5 – 4% of GDP in OECD countries. A particular prevention priority around mental health concerns suicide, which accounted for an estimated 800 000 deaths in 2018 (WHO 2019). Despite the enormous burden that mental ill-health imposes on individuals, their families, society, health systems and the economy, mental health care remains a neglected area of health policy in too many countries, including Antigua and Barbuda. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on people’s mental health. Some groups, including health and other frontline workers, students, children, people living alone, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions, have been particularly affected. And services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders have been significantly disrupted and, in some instances, non-existent.

The Democratic National Alliance is committed to modernizing Mental Healthcare Legislation thereby integrating Mental Healthcare Services into our General Healthcare Services and removing the stigma and bias surrounding Mental Health. Prosperity for All means Mental Healthcare for ALL.

DNA Team Leader in St. Peter and Mental Health Advocate Chaneil Imhoff noted that “On days like this, it is not enough to create a post for Social Media and care for only 24 hours. Mental Healthcare reform should be prioritized especially now that COVID-19 has exposed inadequacies and inequalities in our systems. It is important for us as advocates to never stop pushing for this level of reform, but it is even more important for our leaders to create modern legislation that will ensure proper care and access to resources for our most vulnerable.”



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