EHS-COVID (366) COVID-19 and mental health (6) World Health Assembly recommends reinforcement of measures to protect mental health during public health emergencies

1 June, 2021

WHO press release: World Health Assembly recommends reinforcement of measures to protect mental health during public health emergencies

Extracts below. Full text here: https://www.who.int/news/item/31-05-2021-world-health-assembly-recommend...

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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment and financial instability, disruption to education, social isolation, intimate partner and family violence, fear of life-threatening disease, and sudden loss of loved ones, have become increasingly common. All of these are risk factors for mental health conditions and behavioural problems such as depression and substance use disorders...

In 2020, a wide range of resources were developed in many languages by WHO in collaboration with partners, including: a stress management guide for the general public; a guide for COVID-19 responders on basic psychosocial skills; and a toolkit to help older adults maintain mental well-being...

During the World Health Assembly, delegates endorsed the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030, including the plan’s updated implementation options and indicators. For the first time, the plan includes an indicator on preparedness for providing mental health and psychosocial support during emergencies...

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A draft decision on Promoting mental health preparedness and response for public health emergencies at the WHO Executive Board meeting previously noted (January 2021): '93% of the 130 countries participating in the survey reported disruptions in one or more services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders, while the demand for mental health services is increasing'

https://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/EB148/B148(3)-en.pdf

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org