THE Covid-19 and associated economic and social unrest pose an ongoing global challenge to mental health.
In our country, there is an increased rate of mental distress both directly as a result of the Covid-19 anxiety and trauma from the indirect impact of economic crises.
More than ever, there is a need to improve access to psychological therapies, given the known evidence of their effectiveness for a range of mental health problems and distress.
Despite the pressure
on health services and the trauma to individuals, the current crisis has revealed opportunities to introduce improvement and develop existing ways of accessing mental health care.
The quarantine and lockdown which has been a feature of the Covid-19 has produced an increased interest in providing remote and virtual access to health care in our nation.
Now, more than ever, there is a need to increase access to psychological remedies and consider how advances can enhance their reach and effectiveness.
We have in the last decade, seen a strengthening of psychological remedy services.
In PNG, we should invest in mental health knowledge.
When considering mental health, it is a state of wellbeing in which an individual understands his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
Health literacy is “the capacity to obtain, interpret and understand health information and services in ways that are health enhancing in ways which promote and maintain good health”.
Education needs to be organised and applied and, thus, can be seen as an “investment” of manpower, brain power, resources and money.
Health services have a responsibility to be knowledgeable about the needs of the patients they seek to serve.
We should be able to apply principles of health promotion to enhance patient mental health literacy.
Individuals with mental health disorders use several sources to gain information about their health and illness, including that of internet in order to make correct health decisions, known as e-health literacy.
Health literacy can be improved, with the awareness and involvement of different key stakeholders in the community, from policy makers to educational services.
Investing in mental health literacy is essential, but it is also a complicated process that requires not only a family doctor with high communication and motivation skills, but awareness of the skills that mentally-ill people need to acquire for its supervision and authorisation.
Investing in mental health literacy in our cultures needs to be handled with respect for local belief-systems.
- Next week: Mental health continue