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Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson has urged persons to show care and respect to individuals with mental illness and not abuse them. The call comes as the country observes World Mental Health Day on October 10, 2012 under the theme "Depression: A Global Crisis". In his message, Minister Ferguson says mental health has been identified by the ministry as a priority programme in keeping with a mandate from the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization.

"An important aspect of that mandate is the ongoing development of the community mental health services. Mental health services are provided within the community in all health regions. The community mental health service seeks to provide equitable, integrated, and comprehensive, community based mental health services which are acceptable, available and accessible to the people of Jamaica, while at all times respecting their human rights," he said.

Among the activities for WMHD will be the World Mental Health Day Symposium to be held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, Kingston by the Ministry of Health in association with PAHO and the Jamaica Psychiatric Association.  The conference will begin at 8:30a.m. and include topics such as ‘the economic impact of depression’, ‘depression in recession’, ‘depression in chronic diseases in the elderly’, ‘depression in children’ and  ‘counseling tips in depression’. A panel discussion will also be hosted which will look at ‘psychological and other challenges experienced by caregivers of the mentally ill’. 

The objectives of the symposium are:

*             To prevent, identify early, treat and support persons who have been diagnosed with a mental illness.

*             To empower people who have been affected by depression to improve their coping skills.

*             To advance the integration of mental health care into Primary Health Care, particularly in response to depression.

*             To build awareness about depression as a very debilitating illness.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson will be the guest speaker at the event.

 

Contact: MOH, Public Relations Unit Tel: 967-1561