Mental Health services & other topics – Daily Briefing (14 May 2020)

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Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

– Mental Health
– COVID-19/Vaccine
– COVID-19/Social Protection
– Security Council/Yemen
– Libya
– COVID-19/Peacekeeping
– COVID-19/Myanmar
– COVID-19/Thailand
– COVID-19/Ghana
– Burundi
– Philippines
– Lesotho
– Amazon
– COVID-19/Ceasefires
– UN Contributions

In a new policy brief, titled “COVID-19 and the need for action on mental health”, the Secretary-General presents a series of recommendations to ensure that mental health services are fully included in pandemic response and recovery plans. 
Mental health is at the core of our humanity, he said, but after decades of neglect and underinvestment in these services, the pandemic is now hitting families and communities with additional mental stress. Even when the pandemic is brought under control, he added, grief, anxiety and depression will continue to affect people and communities.
The Secretary-General calls for an expansion of programmes currently available. He adds that policies must support and care for those affected by mental health conditions, as well as protect their human rights and dignity. Governments, civil society and health authorities should urgently come together to address the mental health dimension of the pandemic, he says.
He also calls on governments to announce ambitious commitments on this at the forthcoming World Health Assembly.
In his own video message to support the new policy brief, the head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros, said that if there was ever a time to invest in mental health, it is now. He added that we must use this opportunity to build services that are fit for the future, inclusive, community-based and affordable.

More than 140 current and former world leaders, as well as Nobel laureates, UN officials and experts, have signed an open letter calling on all governments to unite behind a so-called people’s vaccine against COVID-19. This appeal, which was coordinated by UNAIDS and Oxfam, comes ahead of the virtual meeting of the health ministers at the World Health Assembly starting May 18th.

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