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World Mental Health Day focuses on workplace this year
 World Mental Health Day was first observed in 1992, and is dedicated to raising awareness about mental health issues. Twenty-five years on, we are still fighting the prejudice, discrimination and continuing stigma associated with mental health. 
Every year, people around the world mark the day on October 10. The WHO Representative to the Lao PDR, Dr Juliet Fleischl, said the theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is mental health at the workplace.
WHO has been mobilising efforts in support of better mental health. It marked the World Health Day in April by highlighting one of the issues of mental health and focussing on “Depression: Let’s Talk”.

We should give courage to people affected by depression and hopelessness that may be related to mental health problems. --Photo the Centre of Information and Education for Health

Depression is a leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people now live with depression, with an increase of more than 18 percent recorded between 2005 and 2015.
One in four people is affected by a mental disorder at some point in their lives. Depression and anxiety disorders are common mental disorders that impact people’s ability to work and lead productive lives. Many of these people live with both.
 A lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, has prevented many from accessing treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives. A recent WHO-led study estimated that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US$1 trillion each year in lost productivity.
By 2030, depression will be the leading cause of disease burden globally. To raise awareness of this issue, it is important to encourage good mental health at the workplace by safeguarding staff wellbeing, addressing problems when they arise and supporting staff through the process, especially those who have recovered from mental health problems to stay well.
For many adults, a large proportion of their time is spent at work. The workplace experience is one of the factors determining their overall wellbeing. A negative working environment may lead to physical and mental health problems, harmful use of substances or alcohol, absenteeism and lost productivity.
Mental health disorders are a long neglected problem and there is a need for change. Some 900,000 people commit suicide every year and suicide is the second most common cause of death among young people. People with mental health disorders are exposed to a range of human rights violations, and three out of four people with severe mental disorders receive no treatment.
The mental health action plan for 2013 to 2020 envisions a world where mental health is valued, promoted and protected. The cross cutting principles are reflected in the WHO mandate “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.
It is also reflected in Universal Health Coverage, human rights and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) global target 3.1, whereby 80 percent of member states have at least two functioning national, multi-sectoral mental health promotion and prevention programmes by 2020. Global target 3.2 is focussed on reducing the rate of suicide by 10 percent by 2020.
The Acting Head of Mahosot Hospital’s Mental Health Ward, Dr Bounhom Kannavong, said providing health education and helping people with mental health disorders in local communities should be continued. “Some people still need medical staff to help them in their community. Some people with mental problems are afraid to communicate with people in society,” he said.
Psychologists believe people with mental health problems make up 0.5 to 1 percent of the population. This figure is true for every country.
 “It is very necessary for people at mental health risk to take time to talk to their friends, parents, teachers or any people that they trust. Talking should be the best way to deplete your depression and stress. Don’t keep the problem along with you,” said Dr Bounhom.


By Times Reporters
(Latest Update October 13, 2017)

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