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UN chief calls for mental healthcare services for vulnerable populations

Author: Okot Emmanuel | Published: Saturday, October 10, 2020

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General | File photo PHOTO//Getty images

The UN Secretary-General has called for the protection of those most vulnerable to mental health illness during and after the coronavirus pandemic.

Antonio Guterres says a massive scale-up in investment in mental health is needed across countries.

Speaking on the eve of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Mr. Guterres identified those at risk of mental illness as frontline healthcare workers, older people, adolescents and young people.

He also mentioned those with pre-existing mental health conditions and those caught up in conflicts and crises.

In a video message, the UN chief highlighted how psychological problems such as depression and anxiety are now recognized as a leading cause of illness and disability among children and adolescents.

According to the UN, depression affects 264 million people in the world.

It also notes that around half of all mental health conditions start by age 14, with suicide the second leading cause of death in young people aged 15 to 29.

Antonio Guterres asserted that every 40 seconds, someone dies from suicide around the globe.

The UN chief appealed to governments to make quality mental health care available for all who need it to allow us to recover faster from the coronavirus crisis.

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.

The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

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