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On World Health Day, WHO Director General Candidates Discuss Need To Address Global Mental Health

Huffington Post: Let’s Talk about Depression and Scale Up Mental Health Services
Tedros Adhanom, special adviser to the prime minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and a candidate for WHO director general

“…[W]e can and must address the grand challenge of mental health if we are to fully prevent and treat non-communicable diseases and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. … As a candidate for director general of the WHO, I believe there is a key role WHO needs to play to improve and advance mental health. It can help advocate for efficient resources and services — and efforts to reduce stigma — to be in place at local, national, and global levels. It can help accelerate the implementation of the Global Mental Health Action Plan (2013-20) and document best practices and bottlenecks. Finally, WHO can play a pivotal role in positioning universal health coverage including mental health services at the center of implementation of all the Sustainable Development Goals. … Today, World Health Day, let’s not shy away from talking about depression and mental illnesses. Our actions will make all the difference” (4/7).

TIME: Now Is the Moment to Tackle Mental Illness Across the Globe
David Nabarro, special adviser to the U.N. secretary general on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change and a candidate for WHO director general

“…[Regarding mental health,] I want to see the World Health Organization (WHO) employ a relentless international focus, which is long overdue. … How can depression be better understood and treated? First — we must recognize the problem. Second — we must talk about it. Third — we must ensure that depressed people are effectively treated. … As a global organization, WHO is well placed to share experiences and knowledge from across the world on what works best. I want to see it utilize its regional offices and embed best practice, encouraging more training, more treatment, and more openness. … The WHO should not only dismantle stigma but go further and make people everywhere able to express mental health issues openly. It is good to talk. The time is right for a mental health movement, and we must seize the moment. … I am one of the three nominees for the [position of WHO director general] … and I guarantee that mental health will be one of my top priorities if I’m elected” (4/7).

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