WHO South-East Asia Committee adopts Paro Declaration to strengthen mental health services

Strong points
  • 1 in 7 people live with a mental health problem: Statement from Paro
  • 7 member countries have taken steps to strengthen mental health policies
  • Paro Declaration calls for increased funding for community mental health

New Delhi: Member countries of the World Health Organization’s Southeast Asia region on Tuesday adopted the Paro Declaration, pledging to provide universal access to health care and mental services. Increased investment in mental health reduces treatment costs and increases productivity, employment and quality of life, WHO Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said in a statement. The Paro Declaration was adopted at the Ministerial Roundtable on Mental Health through Primary Care and Community Engagement, on the second day of the ongoing 75th session of the WHO South Asia Meeting. Is in Bhutan.

The statement urges member countries to develop and implement multi-sectoral policies to address mental health risks and reduce treatment gaps exacerbated by COVID-19 to ensure services reach all who need them, close to home, without financial hardship, said the regional manager.

As part of the declaration, member countries agreed to develop country-specific goals to achieve universal primary care-oriented mental health services and integrate mental health into planning, implementation and management. policy evaluation.

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The Paro Declaration also calls for increased funding for community mental health networks and a continued supply of medication and rehabilitation, the statement said.

In Southeast Asia, an average of one in seven people lives with a mental health problem, he said, adding that the personal and economic distress caused by the pandemic has widened the gaps in addressing health problems. mental.

The statement calls for ensuring an effective and comprehensive response to mental health needs by building evidence-based and rights-based community networks and systematically planning for the deinstitutionalization of care for people with serious mental disorders.

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Member countries committed to prioritizing fiscal space for health and universal health coverage, ensuring adequate investments for mental health services at primary and secondary levels, and mobilizing the additional resources needed in partnership with local and international stakeholders.

Several member countries in the region have already taken steps to strengthen policies, plans, laws and services to improve the mental health of its citizens.

Replicating and scaling up successful models and innovative interventions, harnessing digital technologies and telemedicine to improve access to services and building the capacity of health workers, and using evidence and data for improved programs will help the region withstand future mental health impacts exacerbated by humanitarian emergencies, climate change and economic downturns, the statement said.

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(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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