By Faranak Bakhtiari

World Mental Health Week to highlight inequality

October 10, 2021 - 17:44

TEHRAN – Iran celebrates World Mental Health Week on October 9-15 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic to raise awareness of the inequality in access to mental health care.

World Mental Health Day was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.

Observed annually on October 10, the event represents a global commitment to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.

This year, it is celebrated around the world with a theme of "Mental health care for all: let's make it a reality".

Low share of mental health in health sector budget

The third meeting of the specialized working group on mental health was held with the aim of reviewing and updating the goals of the national mental health document, prepared and piloted in 2012.

Ahmad Hajebi, director of the mental, social, and addiction health office of the Ministry of Health said that said the goals of the national mental health document include increasing mental health literacy, equitable access to mental health services, and empowering the public.
Referring to the low share of mental health in the country's health system budget, he stressed the need for policies and financial resources as two main pillars to facilitate the provision of mental health services.

Ali Delpisheh, Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Health and Food Security said that factors such as respect for civil rights, fair distribution of resources, prevention of natural disasters, and childhood development can keep the society mentally healthy.

He further pointed to the link between inflation and the economic situation with mental health, and cited coronavirus and the resulting tensions, including economic problems, as factors exacerbating mental health problems.

Regarding the importance of mental health and the need to review its goals and interventions in light of the pandemic, it is needed to provide a platform for cross-sectoral cooperation to facilitate the implementation of the document and coordination between stakeholders.

Mental health week programs 

The health ministry has assigned each day of the week with a special theme as follows:

Monday, October 9: The role of policymakers in the equitable access to mental health services

Tuesday, October 10: The role of sanctions on mental health inequality during the pandemic

Wednesday, October 11: Fair relationship of psychosocial health service providers with service recipients

Thursday, October 12: The effect of stigma on the inequality of mental health services in society

Friday, October 13: The need to develop economic and social justice in improving the mental health of society

Saturday, October 14: Mental health literacy and service use 

Sunday, October 15: The role of governance in empowering people with disabilities (physical and mental)


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