MONROVIA-President George M. Weah, has issued a Proclamation declaring Monday, October 10, 2022 as “World Mental Health Day” and is to be observed throughout the Republic as a Working Holiday.
The Proclamation calls on all international organizations, ministries and agencies concerned to join the Ministry of Health in implementing appropriate programs befitting the occasion.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, the World Federation for Mental Health has designated the global theme for World Mental Health Day 2022 celebration as :“Make Mental Health & Well-Being for All a Global Priority” and urges the national government and international community to understand the relevant need for greater collaboration between governments, citizens and planners, so that effective processes can be established to deliver mental health and well-being services to the entire population of Liberia.
The Proclamation also stated that the Health Management Information System Report of the Ministry of Health, for service from 2017–2021 shows an estimated number of 170,784 people in the population affected by mental illnesses, epilepsy, and other conditions.
The Proclamation further revealed that close to 1 billion people around the world are living with a mental disorder, and an estimated 100 million people in Africa are affected by mental health disorders.
The release also indicates that thousands of Liberians have damaged their well-being and social inclusion, which is caused by living with a mental condition or epilepsy, which is attributed to limited access to treatment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily affected mental health services and has resulted in the deterioration in the mental health and well-being of the general public, which has shown that no nation was prepared for the associated mental health crisis and the effects of the long-term COVID-19 virus, the Proclamation stated.
The Presidential Proclamation noted that the global community is not just spinning under the effects of the coronavirus pandemic but of wars, disasters, poverty, disease outbreaks, displacement, and the climate emergency, all of which have adversely impacted the well-being of world citizens.
The release also stresses that many mental conditions have traditionally received too little attention and concern by the general public, the general healthcare system, and elected and appointed public policy makers, resulting in inadequate priority being given to these disorders.
There is increasing evidence that the prevention of mental illness is possible by using both general and targeted evidence-based interventions, which can improve outcomes for individuals across the spectrum of mental disorders and life course.
According to the Proclamation, the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Health, has provided a budget for Mental Health Services to fully implement the newly revised Mental Health Policy and Strategic Plan.