June 03, 2007

Mental Health :: WHO for community mental health services

"Not only are community health services more accessible to people living with severe mental disabilities, these are also more effective in taking care of their needs compared to mental hospitals," said Benedetto Saraceno, World Health Organisation's Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

"Community mental health services are also likely to have less possibilities for neglect and violations of human rights, which are too often encountered in mental hospitals," he said.

The call for community mental health services came during WHO's Global Forum for Community Mental Health, which concluded in Geneva yesterday and which, for the first time, included participation of people with mental disorders.

In addition to the nearly 54 million people suffering from severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder, WHO estimates that 154 million suffer from depression.

"This topic should matter to everyone, because far too many people with mental disorders do not receive any care," said Catherine Le Galhs-Camus, Assistant Director-General of WHO's cluster on Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health.

According to WHO, mental disorders are increasingly prevalent in developing countries, the consequence of persistent poverty-driven conditions, the demographic transition, conflicts in fragile States and natural disasters. At the same time, more than 50 per cent of developing countries do not provide any care for persons with mental disorders in the community.

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