Mental Health is one of the most neglected areas of public health, which is quite evident in PNG today and receives very minimum support from the government.
Prime Minister, James Marape has given his assurance to the Directorate that the Government through the Health Ministry will show greater investment towards Mental Health.
“Let me give you assurance you are equally important if not very important. And please advocate what level of interventions we need to make where their policies or legislations need be and also in terms of lobbying for budget support,” the Prime Minister said while thanking all the Health workers.
Marape also added, “We don’t have an ‘entire bag full of money’ to satisfy every need 100% but we can give our best endeavor in the way we distribute resources.”
World Health Organization (WHO) reports that close to 1 billion people are living with a mental disorder, 3 million people die every year from the harmful use of alcohol and one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide.
WHO Team Leader- Communicable Disease, Dr. Anup Singh Gurung said, “Mental Health became an issue even with the health care providers initially in the pandemic.”
“Even when we were working at Rita Flynn with the Healthcare providers there, some of them were actually removed from their houses. There was so many stigmas that we had to provide and look after our own health care providers.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the numbers are set to increase significantly as individuals around the world as people try to adapt to the new normal.
The Directorate for Social Change and Mental Health Services has been working hard to bring more awareness to this area since its establishment in 2015.
The Directorate was created on the legal basis of the Mental Health Act 2015.
This Act ensures that Laloki Psychiatric Hospital has a board.
With the mental health reform, the Directorate now comes under the Health Ministry and operates independently.
Directorate Chairman, Cardinal Sir John Ribat, in thanking the Prime Minister, said, “… in all aspects of our lives when we have a healthy mind, we’ll be able to move forward and do better things.”
He added, “But of course those who have problems mentally we have services to help them. So this is where we are sure that the population is taken care of.”
This year’s Mental Health Campaign is highly focused on mental health for all, greater investment, greater access for everyone everywhere.
And now with some support from the government, more than ever, we individually must promote good mental health and help prevent mental illness.
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