This year, the people of the Caribbean Region will celebrate 12 years since the 2007 landmark summit, ‘Declaration of Port of Spain: Uniting to Stop the Epidemic of Chronic Non-communicable Diseases’ under a new theme, ‘Power Through Collective Action’ with the sub theme - “Stronger Together 2020” . This year CARPHA is pleased to align the Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD) sub theme with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) mental health awareness campaign.
Worldwide, mental disorders are now recognised as the 5th major non-communicable disease and a major public health threat to economic development in the 21st century. According to the World Health Organization one in four persons globally will be affected by a mental disorder or neurological disorder in their lifetime and 450 million are affected by these disorders, such as, depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dementia and substance (e.g. alcohol, nicotine) dependency.1
In the Caribbean, mental health disorders are a leading cause of disability and a major contributor to of the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Caribbean region. In Jamaica the burden of mental illness is predicted to cause US$2.76 billion in lost economic output from 2015-2030.2
Member States will recall that the CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government in 2007 issued the Port-of-Spain Declaration, ‘Uniting to Stop the Epidemic of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)’ and declared the second Saturday in September, ‘Caribbean Wellness Day’ (CWD).