WHO PAHO 2014: Statement on Mental Health

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World Health Organization
 66th Session of the Regional Committee for the Americas
 September 29th - October 4th 2014 | Washington D.C., USA

Statement of International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations on Agenda Item 4.7: Plan of Action for Mental Health Honorable Health Leaders from the Americas, On behalf of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations which represents 126 National Medical Students’ Associations, we welcome the work being done by PAHO on the issue of Mental Health. There are 450 million people living mental illness, most of them with no access to treatment or even to a diagnosis. Currently in the Americas, Mental illness represent 22.4% of the total diseases burden, most of which start before the 24 years old. Alcoholism also represents a major threat in the increase of mental diseases. Our society has established that some of these people do not possess the ability to interact with the world so they live with medication that can give them that opportunity. We call upon member states to: • Promote economic investment by governmental and non - governmental organizations in the region in this field • To ensure adequate training regarding mental health issues to medical students and health professionals. • Prioritize mental health in primary health care through prevention and ensuring appropriate treatment for all. • Focus on adolescents as a risk group for Mental Health issues such as depression, substance abuse and suicide, • Ensure the representation of medical students in the Mental Health worldwide agenda as a key actor in the development of new strategies to tackle this matter. • Integrate mental health in the national health systems and health reforms We call upon PAHO to: • Strengthen and promote the mental health programs in each member country. • Have higher budget allocations for mental treatment and access to well trained physicians on this field. • Create campaigns of mental health awareness in the Americas As IFMSA we commit to: • Raise awareness regarding mental health issues • Promote and join the campaigns of PAHO on this field • Elaborate campaigns that will focus on the prevention and promotion of mental health in the Americas.

 Maria Jose Cisneros Caceres
 IFMSA Regional Coordinator for the Americas
 rcamerica@ifmsa.org | www.ifmsa.org

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