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Celebrating World Mental Health Day

Saturday October 10, 2015 Written by Published in Health
The community has rallied together for mental health awareness in the past, and Te Kainga hope today will be no different. The community has rallied together for mental health awareness in the past, and Te Kainga hope today will be no different.

Te Kainga Mental Health Services is inviting all to join them at the Punanga Nui Markets today as they raise awareness for World Mental Health Day.

The theme for this year’s world-wide commemoration is “dignity in mental health” which aims to show the ways in which dignity can be applied in all aspects of mental health support, awareness and services.

Te Kainga will have an information booth at the market, and will also be selling limited edition t-shirts and blue ribbons.

The mental health awareness t-shirts will be sold at the markets and on Monday outside BSP for $15.

During the week they will be running the same documentaries they played for World Suicide Prevention Day last month, which discusses depression.

“We hope these documentaries will inspire people and encourage them to see help if they need it,” says Te Kainga director Mereana Taripo. 

On Friday, there will be a radio panel discussion with Taripo, Dr Rangi Fariu and a volunteer who will talk about his experience with depression.

Taripo says there is still a big stigma about mental health in the Cook Islands, and they hope they can change this through awareness and education.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health will run a World Health Organisation mental health Gap Action Plan programme.

The programme aims to come up with concrete next steps and recommendations to improve mental health services in the Cook Islands.

Non-trained specialists such as general nurses and doctors will also have the chance to learn how to assess and manage common mental disorders with a workshop run by WHO. 

World Federation for Mental Health president Professor George Christodoulou says all too often, people with mental disorders and their families find dignity absent in their dealings with health-care providers and with society at large.

“They feel demeaned by the manner in which they are treated, and health professionals don’t always have the time needed to address difficult problems.”

Christodoulou says sometimes budget problems at the national level impact health and social care, making coordinated care difficult to achieve. 

However, he says health promotion is increasingly important for spreading messages about mental health and breaking stigmas.

“An appreciation that good mental health is a valuable asset should encourage people to think about mental health more broadly and also think about ways to support it.”

World Health Day chair, Dr Patt Franciosi says World Mental Health Day provides an occasion for many regional and local efforts to put the spotlight on mental health care.