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Ministry of Health and Wellness updates National Mental Health Policy 2023-2028

Posted: Wednesday, October 11, 2023. 1:13 pm CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: In commemoration of World Mental Health Day 2023, the Ministry of Health and Wellness and partners launched the updated National Mental Health Policy 2023-2028.

The policy was updated after 15 years and the focus seeks to to deinstitutionalize persons struggling with mental health variations and raise awareness to eliminate the sigma and promote mental health services.

Director of Public Health and Wellness, Dr. Melissa Diaz reiterated that the policy focuses on building health literacy and sensitizing the public about mental health diseases.

“Though there are some similarities but what we want specifically is to ensure that we educate and we build health literacy, we inform the public, sensitize the public about mental diseases and mental illnesses and how common they are and how we can support as a ministry, but not only us as MOHW this needs multi-sectorial approach, this needs an all of government approach, and as Dr Cuellar mentioned in his presentation, an important support is you what can you do to ensure that you reduce stigma, that you help to educate family and friends with regard to mental illness as it is absolutely important as part of your general health as well,” Dr. Diaz said.

The Director said that mental illness has increased due to the pressures of the world especially following COVID-19.

“But Mental illness like you quite rightly said has increased due to more than likely the pressures of the world we’ve gone through the covid pandemic there was a lot of fear globally with regards to the pandemic of the uncertainty and anxiety depression and all these things OCD. These things are now easier to recognize and we want to ensure that we give the support and we provide the help that’s needed for persons who are experiencing any level of mental illness,” Dr. Diaz added.

Data showed that in 2022 there were 1657 Mental Health patients in Belize.

 

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