BELMOPAN, Sun. Oct. 10, 2021– On Sunday, October 10, Belize and the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) marked World Mental Health Day – a day striving to influence discussions on mental health, and encourage persons to prioritize their mental health by bringing it to the forefront of everyday life.
For this year’s event, the global community observing World Mental Health Day settled on the theme, “Mental Health in an Unequal World.” This theme underscores how inaccessible mental health services are to persons with mental disorders in low and middle-income-countries. The Ministry of Health and Wellness release states that approximately 75% to 95% of persons with mental disorders in these countries lack the necessary services and facilities. This signifies a stark gap of investment in mental health in comparison to a country’s overall health budget. This is a leading contributor to the gap in mental health treatment worldwide.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened the need for mental health. The release from the Government of Belize Press Office states, “Disadvantaged communities are being more acutely affected by lockdowns and associated measures, infections, deaths, and the socioeconomic impact of unemployment.” These detrimental effects underscore how crucial mental health is, and highlights the need for more support in the community, especially during the pandemic when the effects of mental health are exacerbated.
In the MoHW release, the ministry encourages persons to be vigilant about their mental state. This can be done by practicing healthy habits like abstaining from social media, exercising, eating a well-balanced diet and getting enough sleep daily. Acts of mindfulness, such as reading, meditating, yoga, and contacting friends and family are encouraged and are proven to be beneficial to mental health. MoHW invites the public to partake in local World Mental Health Day activities. The ministry has facilitated many efforts including tree planting, poster competitions, distribution of food hampers, educational sessions and media rounds.
In Belize, mental health services are readily available to the public. Persons requiring treatment are advised to visit the mental health clinics stationed at the nearest public hospital. This can be done by directly calling a health care provider to schedule an appointment or by calling the MoHW hotline at 0-800-MOH-CARE (0-800-664-2273) for assistance.