Calling global mental health problems "acute and urgent," 37 leading medical authorities from 11 countries have published a joint declaration calling for basic mental health care in Africa.
The experts also call for global mental health objectives to be included among the United Nations' post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, for a special UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on Mental Health by 2017, and for efforts to end the stigma and human rights violations inflicted on mental health patients.
Published in the journal Global Health Action, the declaration was authored by 13 experts and others from eight countries including South Africa, Togo, Kenya, Mozambique, India, Sweden and Canada.
Adding their names to the declaration: 24 more authorities, from Nigeria, Tanzania, Egypt, Sweden and South Africa, site of a February meeting focussed on the mental health situation in Africa.
While action is needed worldwide, the experts say, nowhere is that need greater than in Africa, where mental health disorders account for "a huge burden of disease and disability, and where in general less than 1% of the already small health budgets are spent on these disorders."
African and other member nations of the World Health Organization have adopted a Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan, the authors say, and "Africa now has an historic opportunity to improve the mental health and wellbeing of its citizens, beginning with provision of basic mental health services and development of national mental health strategic plans (roadmaps)."
On 24 and 25 February 2014, a group of people with a common interest in mental health met at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) in South Africa at a roundtable meeting to address the topic: Mental Health Challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa: Moving to Implementation. Participants included representatives of perso
|Contact: Terry Collins|
University Health Network at the University of Toronto