Mauritius: The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, participated this morning in a symposium on Mental Health at the Middlesex University in Flic en Flac. This symposium was organised in the context of World Mental Health Day, celebrated annually on 10 October. The theme identified by the World Health Organization for this year’s Mental Health Day is “Make Mental Health and Well-being for all a Global Priority”.
In his address, the Minister highlighted that the teaching of subjects like Psychology and mental health issues had become now, more than ever, unquestionable. “COVID-19 has taken its toll on everyone, especially on students who had to follow online classes at home far from friends, co-students and lecturers,” he pointed out.
In addition, Dr Jagutpal indicated that the rate of mental health problems like depression and anxiety has steadily increased during these past two years among students in Mauritius and worldwide.
“During this symposium, I look forward for you, students of this University, to share your experience of COVID-19 and its impact on mental health, and I expect you to come forward with innovative ideas to strengthen mental health among students and in society,” he stated.
Minister Jagutpal underlined that this symposium is timely as mental health issues are not to be taken lightly as they affect people from all walks of life, be it men, women, students or children. “Stigmatisation and discrimination against people suffering from mental health disorders or disabilities remain a major issue,” he highlighted.
The attendance recorded at Brown Sequard Mental Health Care Centre (BSMHCC), the Health Minister outlined, was more than 28 000 from July 2021 to June 2022, out of which more than 1 700 new cases of Mental illness were detected. “There has also been a sharp increase in the number of cases of depression registered among young people with 3 145 persons admitted at BSMHCH during that period,” he pointed out.
On this note, Dr Jagutpal dwelt on some of the healthcare provided in Mauritius as regards Mental Health. These include the decentralisation of psychiatric services from BSMHCC to 20 Area Health Centres and Community Health Centres; the setting up of Child Psychiatric Services at BSMHCC and in three Regional Hospitals; and a Mental Health Action Plan to strengthen our response to these illnesses.
Minister Jagutpal underscored that it is important to know how to detect mental disorders in order in order to help a friend or a member of the family who may be subject to some degree of mental problems. As per statistics, one person out of eight in the world suffers from some type of mental disorder during the course of his life.
On this score, he appealed to the participants of the symposium to create awareness and sensitise people on mental health issues in order to strengthen responses to these illnesses.
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