Sunday, September 20, 2020

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 recognized 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 

The current COVID-19 pandemic is also affecting different people in different ways and is having a major impact on persons’ mental health and well-being including those persons who have existing mental illnesses.3 Persons with mental disorders often face stigma and discrimination, limitation of human rights, abuse, neglect and inadequate access to community-based treatment, care, and support services. Addressing stigma and discrimination are important strategies in programs for mental health disorders.

Investing in interventions designed to improve health can help reduce the burden of these illnesses. There are cost-effective interventions that Caribbean countries can implement to prevent and control mental illnesses. Scaled up treatment for mental health disorders are likely to increase healthy life years, thus avoiding significant economic losses and social costs.  A recent study in Jamaica reported that by scaling up treatment for mental health disorders over 15 years, for every $1 Jamaican dollar  spent  there  is  a  $4.2  Jamaican dollar return on investment. 4

On Saturday 12th September 2020, countries across the Region will celebrate  Caribbean Wellness Day. The annual event is geared at increasing awareness and promoting activities to address non-communicable diseases including mental ill-health. We encourage everyone to engage in healthy lifestyles like being physically active, engaging in healthy eating; if you smoke, please quit, reduce consumption of alcohol to the recommended safe quantities, get annual health checks, improve your personal relationships with family and friends and take care of your mental health. During the pandemic be calm, be safe, and seek help if unable to cope.

As a Caribbean Region let us recommit to the 2007 ‘Declaration of Port of Spain:  Uniting to Stop the Epidemic of Chronic Non-communicable  Diseases’  and  Sustainable Development  Goal  (SDG)  3.4  ‘to reduce,  by  2030,  premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one third, through prevention and treatment and the promotion of mental health and well-being’.

We must work together in order to prevent and control mental disorders and other NCDs. No one person, organization or government can do this alone. All members of society need to play their role. A ‘whole of society approach’ is essential for success.

CARPHA  will continue to work closely with the  Caribbean   Community (CARICOM), Institutions of the Community, Member States and its public health partners to create the needed alliances between governments, academia, civil society and others, to help to shape regional and country-level policy and programmes that address the issues of mental health disorders and to promote mental wellbeing.

ATLANTA (AP) — Rapper and actor T.I. has settled civil charges with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that he helped promote a fraudulent cryptocurrency. T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, agreed to a civil settlement with the SEC that was announced Friday. He is paying a $75,000 fine and agreeing not to sell or market similar securities for at least five years. Harris got into trouble, the SEC said, because he used his social media accounts to promote FLiK, falsely claiming to be a co-owner, and asked an unnamed actor and comedian to also promote FLiK, providing language calling it T.I.’s “new venture.” The SEC says both of those moves broke federal laws against selling securities without registering with the SEC. The charges against Harris were part of a larger enforcement action against others including film producer Ryan Felton, who faces wire fraud and other charges in a 28-count indictment unsealed Wednesday.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Legal advocates are lining up on both sides of actor Bill Cosby’s appeal as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court prepares to review his 2018 sex assault conviction. Cosby was the first celebrity to go on trial in the #MeToo era, and his appeal could resolve lingering questions about how the cases should be tried. For starters, the high court will try to clarify when other accusers can testify against a defendant — and when the additional testimony amounts to character assassination. Public defenders in Philadelphia, in a friend-of-the-court brief filed in Cosby’s appeal, noted that courts have given conflicting guidance on the issue.

NEW YORK (AP) — The Council of Fashion Designers of America gave its top fashion awards on Monday to Gabriela Hearst for womenswear and Kerby Jean-Raymond for menswear. The two designers led a group of winners that the CFDA said was the most diverse in the 39-year history of the awards. It was the second honor in two days for Jean-Raymond, the prominent Black founder of the Pyer Moss label, who was also named Designer of the Year by Harlem’s Fashion Row in a virtual ceremony on Sunday. The CFDA winners also included Telfar Clemens, who won the accessories award, and Christopher John Rogers, who won for American emerging designer. All four were first-time winners.

NEW YORK (AP) — There’s a scene in a new documentary about Paris Hilton, where the so-called socialite is speaking with former classmates from a Utah boarding school. They joke about how on her reality series “The Simple Life,” Hilton pretended to be clueless over many things— including how to perform any sort of manual labor. One bluntly described it as “some straight-up (expletive),” as they all laughed. “I don’t think you had like a high-pitch voice back then,” was another observation. None of this is a surprise to Hilton. What’s revealed in “This is Paris,” which debuted for free Monday on Hilton’s YouTube channel, is that the ultra-glam, baby-talking young woman whose standard line was “that’s hot,” was a manufactured caricature not just for fame but self-protection, too.