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Kailesh Jagutpal: “We Need To Focus On The Mental Health Of Young People… They Are Fragile”, Says Kailesh Jagutpal

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A national action plan for mental health, for the period 2023 to 2027, will be launched by the end of the year.  This was announced by the Minister of Health at the University of Mauritius on Tuesday, to mark World Mental Health Day.  The World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Mauritius, Dr Anne Marie Ancia; the Vice Chancellor of the University of Mauritius, Professor (Dr) Sanjeev K. Sobhee; the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Mauritius, Miss Lisa Simrique Singh; and other personalities were present on the occasion.

The national action plan, he added, will emphasise the importance of early intervention and prevention strategies, whatever the age. According to Kailesh Jagutpal, 11.4% of the Mauritian population suffers from a mental problem or a disorder linked to the use of psychoactive substances. That’s around 100,000 people in Mauritius.

Kailesh Jagutpal

In 2022, there were 29,000 consultations for psychiatric concerns. This represents an increase of 11.5% compared with 2021. As far as children are concerned, 297 new cases were recorded at Brown Sequard in 2022, representing an increase of 32.7% compared with 2021.

Kailesh Jagutpal emphasised the challenges facing the country, due to changes in society and the fragility of young people.

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is “Mental health is a Universal Right”.

Minister Jagutpal underlined that this forum is timely as mental health issues are not to be taken lightly since they affect people from all walks of life. “Eradicating stigma against people suffering from mental health disorders or disabilities is a collective responsibility and we must foster a society where seeking help for mental health issues is not taken as a sign of weakness, but an act of courage and self-care,” he highlighted.

Anne Marie Ancia

Both Dr Ancia and Professor Sobhee emphasised the importance of considering mental health as a basic human right for all people. “Everyone has a right to the highest attainable standard of mental health and this includes the right to be protected from mental health risks, the right to available, accessible, acceptable, affordable and good quality care, along with the right to inclusion in the community,” Dr Ancia pointed out.

The WHO Representative also indicated that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in older adolescents, and to prevent this, it is essential to raise community awareness and break down the taboo. To assist countries in this task, WHO, alongside the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, will soon launch new guidance on mental health, human rights and legislation, Dr Ancia announced.

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