National mental health policy launched

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ARCHBISHOP John Ribat yesterday launched the country’s new national mental health policy at the St Joseph Catholic church, in Port Moresby.
The new policy aims to cut back the number of people who become ill and die from mental illnesses through programmes that provide protection and promotes their well-being. 
Chief psychiatrist Dr Goiba Tiennang said there was a need for awareness in educating people, including politicians, about the importance of mental health.
He said a lack of logistics had seen mental health not being given national priority.
Tiennang said government needed to focus on establishing a rehabilitation centre which PNG lacked.
He said the mental status of a person was imperative so that one could make sound decisions for oneself.
Division of social change and mental health principal adviser Dr Uma Ambi said the central function of any mental health service was to treat people who had mental disorders.
“People with mental disorders may exhibit symptoms and behaviour that can impair their ability to work and to love and that can impair access to physical health care, income maintenance, education, housing, transport legal advice and leisure opportunities,” she said.
The objectives of the policy are to:
* Improve the access and quality in delivery of mental health services to the people;
* Provide client focus-oriented services and protection of vulnerable groups from developing a mental and neurological disorder;
* Prevent mental disorders through mental health promotion activities;
* Integrate mental health into general health, including primary health care; and 
* Promote the human rights of people with mental disabilities and promote good mental health through sectoral and inter-sectoral initiatives.