GIS - 08 October, 2015: “The Mental Health Care Act will be amended with a view of better addressing mental health issues, identifying gaps and difficulties as well as preventing any form of abuse against patients suffering from mental disorders.”
The Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Mr Anil Gayan, made this announcement, today at the Brown Sequard Mental Health Care Centre in Beau Bassin, at the launching of activities in the context of World Mental Health Day 2015, commemorated on 10 October. The theme chosen by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for this year is: Dignity in Mental Health.
According to Minister Gayan, the present mental health legislation is not adequate to address psychiatric issues. He stated that his Ministry remains fully committed to ensure that people suffering from mental health disorders can continue to live with dignity and enjoy their human rights with the right policies and legislative framework. “It is our firm conviction at the Ministry that dignity for any patient must mean that the patient is being treated with kindness and compassion.”
Recalling that very often people with mental health problems are stigmatised, looked down upon, subjected to marginalisation and social isolation, he highlighted the necessity to adopt a human rights based approach to mental health care so that no one suffering from mental disorders should be considered anymore less human than any other person. He appealed to all Mauritians to have human consideration for mental health patients.
The Minister also spoke of the increase in non-communicable diseases coupled with obesity and old age that can lead to serious mental health problems. “We need in Mauritius to prepare ourselves to an ageing population to meet the concerns and the challenges of mental health over the years to come,” he affirmed, adding that mental health can be extremely expensive to treat. In Mauritius, the budget regarding mental health care amounts to Rs 450 million yearly, that is 4.5% of the dedicated health budget which stands at Rs 9.7 billion per year.
The launching ceremony of activities to commemorate World Mental Health Day 2015 was marked by a cultural programme which comprised song and dances, Yoga demonstrations and musical tune on Harmonica by the inpatients of Brown Sequard Mental Health Care. Other activities organised the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life include an exhibition of creative activities and sale of items manufactured by inpatients of Brown Sequard Mental Health Care, as well as several talks and sensitisation campaign on mental health issues in the regional hospitals and health centres across Mauritius.
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