Greater attention must be paid to mental health care Ban says

10 October 2008Greater efforts are needed to address the difficulties in providing mental health care and protecting the human rights of those with severe disorders, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, urging scaled up resources to provide care to those who need it. “Mental health is of paramount importance for personal well-being, family relationships and an individual’s ability to contribute to society,” Mr. Ban said in his message on World Mental Health Day, observed annually on 10 October.He pointed out that mental disorders occur “in all cultures and at all stages of life,” and are too often linked to poverty, marginalization and social disadvantage.Resources to tackle the issue are “insufficient, inequitably distributed and inefficiently used,” the Secretary-General noted.“Scaling up services should be a priority,” he said, hailing a new initiative announced by the UN World Health Organization (WHO).With over three quarters of people suffering from mental disorders in the developing world receiving no care, “Mental health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP): Scaling up care for mental, neurological and substance use disorders” seeks to close the massive treatment gap.Across Africa, nine out of ten people suffering from epilepsy live without treatment, being unable to access drugs costing less than $5 per year.WHO said that tens of millions could be treated for diseases such as depression and schizophrenia, even where resources are scarce, so long as there is proper care, psychosocial assistance and medication.“Governments across the world need to see mental health as a vital component of primary health care,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. “We need to change policy and practice.”In most countries, less than 2 per cent of health funds are earmarked for mental health. One third of people living with schizophrenia, over half suffering from depression and three quarters with alcohol-use disorders cannot access affordable care.Meanwhile, one person dies of suicide – one of the leading causes of death, albeit a preventable one, among young adults worldwide – every 40 seconds.The cost of boosting services is not very high, WHO said, and can be as low as $0.20 per person per year to enhance treatment for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and hazardous alcohol use.“We need to ensure that people with these disorders are not denied opportunities to contribute to social and economic life and that their human rights are protected,” said Benedetto Saraceno, Director of WHO’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department.In her message on the Day, the head of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) stressed the importance of addressing mental health through the lens of reproductive health, which “is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.”During pregnancy and after delivery, many women suffer from depression, but cannot access the necessary treatment. “Perinatal depression is associated with increased risk of obstetric complications and premature birth,” said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA’s Executive Director. “And depressed women are less likely to seek and receive antenatal or postnatal care.”Survivors of gender-based and sexual violence need mental health and psychosocial support services, she added.UNFPA and WHO have joined forces to integrate mental health services into existing maternal and child health policies.“Today, we call on all governments and partners to include measures for mental health in efforts to achieve human development and respond to humanitarian crises,” Ms. Obaid said. “Mental health is central to human dignity.” read more

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EU leaders predict dire future if EUCanada trade deal fails

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel arrives for the EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. British Prime Minister Theresa May will hold her first talks with European Union leaders and tell them that the U.K.’s decision to leave the bloc is irreversible. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys) by Raf Casert, The Associated Press Posted Oct 20, 2016 10:34 am MDT Last Updated Oct 20, 2016 at 7:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email BRUSSELS – Fearing final rejection by a small Belgian region, leaders of the European Union warned early Friday that if a free trade deal with a close partner like Canada fails it could mean the end of such agreements with any other country.The 28 EU member countries and Canada continued to push hard Friday to persuade Belgium’s francophone Wallonia region to back the so-called CETA deal, which needs unanimity among all EU members. Belgium, in turn, can only back the deal if it has unanimity among all of its regions.Wallonia piled on more pressure late Thursday by dismissing the EU’s latest offer, which included concessions on anything from social security to data protection.“At this stage, the document is still insufficient,” Wallonia President Paul Magnette told reporters in the regional capital Namur.EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he had invited Canada’s International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland to join in the talks with the EU and Belgium to make Magnette change his mind on Friday.“We need this trade arrangement with Canada,” said Juncker. “It is the best one we ever concluded and if we will be unable to conclude a trade arrangement with Canada, I don’t see how it would be possible to have trade agreements with other parts of this world.”On Thursday, EU President Donald Tusk said that barring success “I am afraid, that CETA could be our last free trade agreement.”To have the deal between more than 500 million EU citizens and 35 million Canadians fall apart over the objections of a region of 3.5 million after seven years of talks would undermine the credibility of the EU as a whole, said Tusk.Many others at the meeting joined in the astonishment that Wallonia could sway such clout in the face of nations like Germany and France.“Nobody would understand if it were not possible now, after so many efforts,” an exasperated Martin Schulz, the EU Parliament chief, told the summit leaders.Even Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel would like to do nothing better than sign on instead of dragging the summit of leaders into the byzantine subtleties of Belgium’s constitutional setup between its Dutch, French, and German-speaking language groups.Michel said he needed Wallonia’s backing. “I have a lot of respect for the role of our parliaments and democracy. But democracy means that at one moment you need a decision.”The official signing ceremony of the deal is set for next Thursday when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is supposed to attend an EU-Canada summit. Without the deal ready for signature, it will be cancelled.Wallonia wants more guarantees to protect its farmers and Europe’s high labour, environmental and consumer standards. It also fears the agreement will allow huge multinationals — first from Canada, later from the United States, if a similar deal with Washington follows — that would crush small Walloon enterprises and their way of life.Proponents say the deal would yield billions in added trade through tariff cuts and other measures to lower barriers to commerce. At the same time, the EU says it will keep in place the region’s strong safeguards on social, environmental and labour issues.German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted EU trade policy had not fallen off a cliff yet.“I tell you: You can continue to trust Europe as a trading partner,” she said. EU leaders predict dire future if EU-Canada trade deal fails read more

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