World Federation for Mental Health

World Mental Health Day 2005 Examines the Close Link Between Mental and Physical Health Across the Life Span

    Washington D.c. (ots/PRNewswire) -

    - Dr Benedetto Saraceno of WHO Will Keynote a Symposium to Mark 2005 WMHD in Washington D.C.

    The 13th World Mental Health Day (WMHD) will be celebrated today in many countries and this year examines the close relationship between mental and physical health across all life stages. A healthy mind effects physical well-being at any age. However, mental health is often still considered second to and independent from physical health. The lack of appreciation for the importance of mental health is reflected in insufficient resources provided to address mental health issues.

    Dr Jose Miguel Caldas de Almeida, MD, Chief of the Unit of Mental Health and Specialized Projects, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said that health is a complete state of well-being and there is no health without mental health.

    "The burden of mental disorders is significant in medical, social, and economic terms and is much underestimated. Many age groups are neglected. These problems are global, affecting rich and poor countries alike," Dr Caldas said.

    The 2005 campaign developed by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) aims to increase public education and awareness about mental health issues across the lifespan and focuses on the following topics:

    - A Healthy Start to Life (focusing on mental health issues of children up to 12 years of age)

    - Growing Up Well: Paying Attention to Health During the Teen and Tween Years (including substance abuse, teenage moods, eating disorders)

    - Physical and Mental Health in Adulthood (including different needs in men and women, effects of living longer)

    - Role of Primary Care in Mental Health

    - Special Projects such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression and bipolar disorder

    According to the World Health Organization, at least one in ten people worldwide have suffered from clinically significant mental health problems during the past 12 months(1-3). In addition, many children, adults and  elderly suffer in silence and may not be aware of their mental problems and  how they impact and worsen every aspect of their life. It is estimated that  more than 30 to 50 percent of people with psychiatric disorders remain  undetected and untreated, even in rich countries(4).

    "Although effective treatments exist for many mental disorders, not enough resources are being made available to put these treatments into practice," Dr Caldas de Almeida said. "Significantly more effort is needed by all countries, rich and poor, to change policy, practice and service delivery systems to ensure mental health needs and concerns of people at all age groups receive the level of priority necessary. In many countries, mental health care constitutes less than 1% of the overall health budget."

    The WFMH will mark the 13th World Mental Health Day with a symposium chaired by Dr Mirta Roses Periago, MD, Director of PAHO and Professor John Copeland, the WFMH President-elect. The keynote lecture will be presented by Dr Benedetto Saraceno, MD, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse of the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland and prominent supporter of the WFMH. The symposium program includes presentations by Dr Maryland Pao, MD, National Institute of Mental Health, and Dr Thomas Wise, MD, INOVA Health Systems addressing aspects of mental health during childhood and adolescence, and adulthood and ageing, respectively.

    The symposium will be held on 11 October 4:00 to 5:30 EDT at the headquarters of PAHO in Washington, and will be followed by a reception. Earlier during the day WFMH will also be holding a briefing of medical communications directors and health media, and a lunch meeting involving CEOs from mental health organizations.

    Activities to mark WMHD 2005 are also taking place in many countries across the world. The launch of the play When Time Collapses featuring the ordeals of an undiagnosed schizophrenia sufferer will take place in London, Great Britain.

@@start.t1@@      References:
      (1) Kessler RC et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry.2005;62:617-627.
      (2) Regier DA et al. JAMA. 1990;264:2511-2518.
      (3) WHO. JAMA. 2004;291:2581-90
      (4) (Oct 2005)@@end@@

    For more information regarding the WFMH international activities or the 13th WMHD visit or Media interested in the communicators briefing on Tuesday morning 11th October should contact the WFMH office on +1-703-838-7543.

ots Originaltext: World Federation for Mental Health
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For more information or interviews please contact: Preston J.
Garrison, World Federation for Mental Health, Mobile:
+1-571-247-5491, Email:; Maren Koban, Hill &
Knowlton, Phone: +44-(0)-20-7973-4497, Email:

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