Ban urges greater efforts to carry out Comprehensive Mental Health Action PlanListen /
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for greater efforts to carry out the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan for the sake of all people with mental health problems, especially those who are older and require special attention. This compassionate response will benefit all of society.
In a message marking World Mental Health Day, the Secretary-General noted that the Action Plan recognizes that social and health services must come together to provide an effective response to mental health problems. The Plan also calls for taking account of health and social needs at all stages of life, from infancy through childhood, adolescence, adulthood and older age.
He said while many people look forward to a fulfilling old age, more than one in five adults aged 60 and over experiences mental or neurological disorders such as dementia and depression.
But he noted that health care professionals and older people themselves often do not recognize these mental health problems. Worse, people are frequently reluctant to seek help because of the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Secretary-General Ban said older adults are also vulnerable to physical neglect and shameful mistreatment — abuse that can itself trigger mental health problems.
This year's World Mental Health Day focuses on older adults, offering an opportunity to raise awareness of these problems and overcome them.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.