Archive | October 2013

New WHO mental health action plan

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced a new mental health action plan today.  The full text of Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan’s remarks can be found here:

http://www.who.int/dg/speeches/2013/launch_mental_health_action_plan/en/index.html

Dr. Chan correctly notes “… the treatment of people with mental and behavioural problems remains cruel, inhuman, and degrading in a number of countries.”   The plan she describes focuses heavily on ending the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.  

The plan also favors a move away from hospitalization towards outpatient and community-based services.  While this is a noble goal – it has actually been the practice in the Untied States for nearly 50 years.  Unfortunately, the experience in the U.S. has been that those community-based services too frequently become easy prey for the budget cutter’s ax.