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The Ministry of Health took part in the WHO summit on mental health

26 July 2021

A high-level summit was held in Athens, Greece, on July 22-23, 2021, dedicated to the necessary measures to overcome the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of the population and on service delivery systems in the WHO European region.

The purpose of this international meeting is to enlist the support of countries and to develop clear proposals that will make mental health care a central component of the economic and social recovery process. This will allow us to analyze the lessons learned from the pandemic and use the collective experience gained over many years of changes in the field of mental health.

Ukraine was represented at the summit by Deputy Health Minister Iryna Mykychak, who spoke at the Ministerial Forum during the discussion of problems together with the heads of ministries and representatives of relevant departments of Greece, Spain, France, Armenia, Great Britain, Romania and other countries.

During the summit, the participants discussed a number of topics:

  • experience of European countries in countering the pandemic;
  • the process of vaccination of the population;
  • maintaining the mental health of medical workers;
  • reducing the number of hospitalizations and extending mental health services to primary care and communities;
  • functioning of mobile psychiatric teams and introduction of remote forms of psychiatric care;
  • involvement of patients and socially responsible businesses in decision-making.

At the summit, health ministers and representatives of other WHO member states from the European region reaffirmed their commitment to existing resolutions at all levels related to mental health.

“This meeting was an important milestone on the way to building consensus on the European framework for action on mental health for 2021-2025 and the resolution on mental health ahead of the 71st session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe and the start of the work of the European coalition on mental health,” was said in a statement of WHO.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the extreme importance of mental health and increased its importance in the context of global discussions. At the request of the WHO Regional Director for Europe, a technical advisory group was set up in February 2021, whose tasks include providing advice and guidance on the key effects of COVID-19 on the mental health of the population, as well as on the most important measures that member states can take to address these effects.

Among the most important tasks identified is the need to take meaningful actions to preserve mental health at the individual and social levels in the WHO European region.

“On behalf of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and Minister Viktor Liashko, I expressed my gratitude to the WHO office for including Ukraine in the list of priority countries in the WHO special initiative on mental health. This is not only an honor for us, but also a great responsibility and a chance to change the quality of psychiatric care in Ukraine in the interests of our citizens with the help of an international expert community,” Iryna Mykychak said.