World Health Day 2017: Depression is a Conversation worth our time
7th April 2017- The WHO Maldives together with Ministry of Health, other collaborating ministries and Institutions commemorated the World Health Day throughout Maldives. This year’s theme “Depression: Let’s Talk” offers a unique opportunity to break the stigma associated with the mental health issue. . Gracing the official reception of WHO Country Office, HE Abdulla Jihad, Vice President of Republic of Maldives signed the WHO Day Mural encouraging people to talk to someone they trust. HE Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, Minister of Health and HE Zenysha Adam Zaki, Minister of Gender and Family joined the conversation on Depression with Dr Arvind Mathur, WHO Representative.
Additionally, partners of the WHO such as NGOs, Schools, Diplomatic Community, UN Agencies and Civil Society also attended the function. Showcasing the theme and slogan of the WHO Day and as part of Art Therapy; a live art painting with poetry, a dance drama depicting the coping mechanisms for Depressions and live musical band of young artists performed during the function. The vibrant official ceremony was a celebration for encouraging those with depression to talk, as a first step. It was also an event to create a positive mindset amongst youth towards helping people with any mental illnesses.
The WHO Representative to the Maldives Dr Arvind Mathur also visited schools, engaged with children and senior management for promotion of positive mental health in the school activities and curriculum. WHO is disseminating culture friendly messages and posters nationwide, and also via social media to normalize the topic of Depression.
In the endeavor of supporting Ministry of Health, WHO is working with the government to conduct a General Assembly for Community Health Officers, a mental health forum for youth and also supporting the launch of Let’s Talk campaign in the Maldives and the implementation of “Theatre Based Plays” by the youth on Depression. Media engagement has also been a crucial part of the plans of WHO in the Country to disseminate facts and advocacy messages on Depression to the general public as online newspapers have published Regional Director’s Op Ed and SEAR press release as well.