BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day is extremely important and timely given the toll COVID-19 has had on lives and livelihoods, according to Dr. Cherrilyn Warde-Crawford, Clinical Psychologist in the Ministry of Health.
The theme for World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental Health for All: Greater Investment—Greater Access; Everyone, Everywhere.’
“It is mental health for all, greater investment, greater access,” said Dr. Warde-Crawford. “This is timely because it is saying greater investment, greater access and we want persons to invest in mental health so that everybody can access these services.”
Dr. Warde-Crawford noted the inclusion of everyone and their investments will prove quite beneficial. She said the world budget for mental health is inadequate, noting that information from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that three percent of the health budget is allocated for mental health in low-income countries, while higher-income countries stand at five percent.
Based on information from the WHO’s website, World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10 every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. The day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.
“We will see how that can cause what WHO refers to as a treatment gap,” explained Dr. Warde-Crawford. “It means that certain services are not being invested in so that they can be functioning at their highest potential so that persons can readily access and feel comfortable to access these services.”
Similar sentiments and the reason behind joining the rest of the world to bring attention to mental health were also shared by Michele de la Coudray-Blake, Director of the Counselling Unit in the Department of Community Development, Gender Affairs and Social Services.
“Essentially, we need to focus each year on some aspects of mental health and bring that to the forefront,” said Mrs. Coudray-Blake. “People need to be engaged in discussions, educated and let them have a little bit more awareness and sensitivity so that at the end of the day knowledge, awareness and advocacy can grow.”
She said Mental Health Day allows officials to move mental health from the shadows and bring it to the forefront.