Speaking on the theme ‘Make Mental Health and Well-being for all, a Global Priority’ the Minister of Health Dr Culwick Togamana appealed to all Solomon Islanders to make mental health and well-being a priority for themselves, their families, work places and their communities in which they live for a better and happier living.

The Minister said that commemorating the day brings awareness about mental health and well-being as a global priority.

He stated that it is only fitting that the achievements and challenges facing mental health as a service in the country be highlighted.

“The Ministry of Health has a firm commitment to providing for the health needs of all the people of Solomon Islands,” the Minister said.

Dr Togamana stressed that in his Ministry’s continuous strive for excellent and best outcome for health in the country, the Ministry has embarked on a number of strategic priorities, one of which is the Role Delineation Policy (RDP).

He says the RDP will serve as the key document that will guide the development and delivery of health services in the country, premised on the values and principles of equity and fairness.

“It has been labelled as the signature document for achieving the universal health coverage in Solomon Islands,” Dr Togamana said.

He mentioned that the Mental Health Service is currently undertaking a review of the National Mental Health Policy 2019, which, once finalised, will help determine the roadmap for an updated Mental Health Legislation for Solomon Islands.

Although the Mental Health Team is small numerically compared to other disciplines in Health, the Minister is confident that with a clear and visionary guidance from the policy document and legislation, the road ahead is bright.

“Expansion of these services will be premised on the need for espousing of multi-skilled workforce to meet the multi-faceted mental health needs of the population tailored to the appropriate health packages as per the RDP,” he said.

He emphasized that the future of Mental Health Services is taking shape and size in small tandem. He says there is optimism that growth and development of these services will be supported, but it has to be backed by a strong legal framework that will help guide government going forward.

The Minister concluded by calling on all Solomon Islanders to join with the global family to make mental health and well-being a global priority for all.

The WHO has acknowledged that depression is now one of the leading causes of disability. Also, people with severe mental health conditions die prematurely – as much as two decades early – due to preventable physical conditions.

Recent data has also shown that suicide is now the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds globally.

Despite progress in some countries, people with mental health conditions often experience severe human rights violations, discrimination, and stigma.