World Mental Health Day is recognized each year on October 10 with the objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in its support.
The theme this year, “Move for Mental Health- Let’s invest” was carefully selected as the COVID-19 pandemic catapulted the need for the timely provision of MHPSS as an essential component of the response.
Mental wellbeing is essential for everyone and as such investing in mental health should be a priority for all of government and all of society. Strengthening multisectoral approaches in the provision of mental health services and capacity is a key factor to investing in mental wellbeing.
This year, Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries decided to focus on social connectedness which has been recognized as supportive of good mental and social wellbeing. Countries in promoting social connectedness and bringing awareness to the day have utilized different modalities such as encouraging persons in the community to wear green (the green ribbon is the international symbol for mental health awareness); mental health officers engaged in virtual sessions with school children and media programmes.
Social connection in communities is being promoted through community activities such as group attendance at church services; participation in several media broadcasts; and engagement in community activities such as ‘cricket with friends’; and delivery of care packages to vulnerable populations such as elderly.
We commend and connect with our member states as they accelerate their efforts in investing in mental health.
The PAHO Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries, focuses on providing assistance to our Member States to develop and implement policies, plans and programmes through coordinated and intersectoral approaches. Specific assistance is provided through capacity development and technical guidance building on existing skills; strengthening individual, family and community resilience during health emergencies; integrating mental health into primary health care; and alignment and advancement with health care technology.