APEC ministers see mental health as key element of socio-economic concern

CEBU CITY, Oct. 27 -- The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has encouraged member economies to complete their strategic needs assessment on mental health in an effort to identify economy-specific focus areas to inform initial pilot collaborations in mental health that provide tangible benefits for economic growth, social inclusion, and the wellness of communities and workplaces.

At the same time, health ministers of APEC member economies welcomed the launch of a digital hub as an interactive resource to facilitate the establishment of partnerships to implement the APEC Roadmap to Promote Mental Wellness in a Healthy Asia Pacific.

"Mental health is a timely topic of discussion in the region with challenges and successes in the implementation of mental health programs in APEC economies," the APEC ministers said in their joint statement issued at the conclusion of the 5th APEC High Level Meeting on Health and the Economy held here last August.

They noted that mental illness is a key element of socio-economic concern as it accounts for one-third of the chronic disease burden.

In this context, the APEC health ministers welcomed the progress of the Task Force on Mental Health in implementing the APEC Roadmap to Promote Mental Wellness in a Healthy Asia Pacific (2014-2020).

The Roadmap outlines a series of activities that would enable APEC member economies and stakeholders to achieve the identified goals by 2020.

It includes specific actions, such as convening an APEC Task Force on Mental Health, and working with key representatives of government, industry, academic institutions, civil society not-for-profit organizations, and international organizations, with the ability to promote collaborations, especially public-private partnerships.

An APEC hub will also be established as a sustained tool to exchange regional best practices, assess specific interventions, and inform the launch of pilot collaborations.

Future plans also include establishing a multi-stakeholder network of mental health champions across the APEC region by providing technical assistance to leaders of collaborative pilot projects, and establishing a robust surveillance and monitoring platform, which will provide benchmarks for collaborations and implement suitable evaluation process and mechanism on progress.

The APEC health ministers, likewise, welcomed the launch of a digital hub/digital compendium of the Asia-Pacific region’s best and innovative practices in multilateral, multi-sectoral collaborations, and model public-private partnerships to strengthen mental health.

The health officials said this will serve as an interactive resource to facilitate the establishment of partnerships to implement the roadmap on mental health. (PCOO/APEC Communications Group)


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