5 October 2005

Health Systems Need Holistic Approach Addressing both Physical, Mental Dimensions, Secretary-General Says in Message for World Mental Health Day

NEW YORK, 4 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for World Mental Health Day, 10 October 2005:

Last year's observance of World Mental Health Day highlighted the complex relationship between mental and physical health.  Physical illnesses are often accompanied by emotional and behavioural problems.  We know as well that mental disorders contribute to the outcomes of chronic diseases.  Therefore it is of utmost importance that health systems adopt a holistic approach that addresses both the physical and mental health dimensions of ill health.

This year's theme, "Mental and Physical Health Across the Lifespan", seeks to raise awareness of the need for systems of treatment and care to be responsive to individuals throughout their lifespan.  Each stage of life -- from infancy to old age -- brings different challenges and different needs.  Recognizing and addressing these differences can improve the health and functioning of individuals and families, and contribute to building successful communities.

On World Mental Health Day 2005, let us pledge to do more to bring mental and physical treatment and care closer together for all individuals at every stage of life.

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