Washington D.C., 10 October. - In observance of World Mental Health Day, celebrated annually with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health, PAHO hosted a virtual seminar at its Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
This year’s theme was “young people and mental health in a changing world.” Adolescents (ages 10 to 19 years) represent approximately one sixth of the world’s population (1.2 billion people) and nearly one third of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean. Depression is the leading cause of illness and incapacity in this age group in the Americas, and suicide is the third leading cause of death.
Dr. Anselm Hennis, Director of the Department on Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health at PAHO, opened the seminar by addressing adolescent mental health in the Region and the role of research in improving the situation. He then announced the launch of a special issue of the Pan American Journal of Public Health dedicated to mental health.
Dr. Damián Vázquez, Editor-in-chief of the Journal, spoke of the importance of research and the Journal’s history, followed by Claudina Cayetano, Regional Advisor on Mental Health, who introduced the special issue. Three of its authors, Rafael Sepúlveda, Natalia Trujillo and Alberto Minoletti, presented their research.