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.”
In his defence, Fisher said he had “no closure” from the relationship and “just wanted to communicate like an adult”. He added: “I wanted to believe she wanted to meet up. It was stupid, strange and desperate.”He claimed he had not intended for his ex-girlfriend to believe his MI6 agent stunt, but instead he “just wanted to meet her for a drink” after she realised it was not real.Lionel Blackman, defending, said Fisher “was getting mixed messages as to whether it would be appropriate to contact her”.He added: “Where does one draw the line when one is pursuing love? Did he cross the line?”Maybe others have more restraint, or less passion.”But Amanda Burrows, prosecuting, told the court there was “no doubt that this man has subjected this woman to a great deal of harassment.”His former partner said the pair went for their first date in Tunbridge Wells Bar and Grill after speaking on match.com in March 2016.From the very beginning, she said, he required a lot of her time. “I would go out after work and socialise with my work colleagues and friends, and it was clear he found that an issue,” she said.”I felt very claustrophobic and overwhelmed.”Fisher was found guilty of harassment by way of stalking after a day-long trial at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court last week.Chairman of the bench Nick Bensted-Smith said: “You caused distress with your actions and we regard this as unreasonable.”We found these actions amounted to stalking and we find you guilty of the offence.” The pair met on match.comCredit:digitallife / Alamy Fisher will be sentenced at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, and in the meantime is banned from contacting his ex-girlfriend either directly or indirectly. Fisher had told his girlfriend from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, he was a store manager at Sainsbury’s in Epsom, Surrey. She ended their seven-month relationship in October last year when she discovered he actually worked for a branch of the discount chain B&M.After the break-up Fisher, a former policeman who was suspended after committing a string of driving offences, persistently tried to contact her, sending her daily emails and calling her up to 50 times in one week.The harassment culminated in December, when he paid actor Hannah Jackson to go round to his ex-girlfriend’s house and tell her he was an MI6 agent.The complainant said: “I got a call from someone who said they needed to come to my house and read me a disclosure report regarding an officer who I had been in a relationship with.”I knew David had been a police officer at some stage so I decided to ring 101 and check.”When the police told her Fisher’s name was not on their records, she became suspicious and arranged for officers to intercept a meeting she had arranged with Ms Jackson at her home. A former policeman hired an actress to pretend he was an MI6 agent in a bid to impress his ex-girlfriend into taking him back.David Fisher said he was “stupid, strange and desperate” in his attempts to make his former partner meet up with him, but claimed his actions did not amount to stalking.His former partner said the 29-year-old was “very kind” but she ended their relationship when she discovered he had been lying about his occupation. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.