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Fiji: Dare To Care For Mentally Challenged (FHSIP)

Dare to care for mentally challenged

The Director of Fiji Health Sector Improvement Programme (FHSIP) today launched the "Stop Stigma against Mental Illness- Dare To Care" Campaign at Ratu Sukuna Park.

At the launch, Dr Vilikesa Rabukawaqa called on Fiji to collectively target a goal of greater acceptance and understanding of mental illness, adding that patients and the community should work together and seek prompt medical assistance and support.

"Unless we take away the stigma associated with being mentally ill, supporting initiatives of outreach services and ongoing education stand a poor chance of making a sustainable impact in the area of Mental Health".

The social marketing campaign uses data, results and feed back from areas of the Mental Health programmes in Fiji, including services offered at Saint Giles Hospital, post graduate training courses at Fiji School of Nursing and also Community Psychiatric Nursing and Training to bring home key messages.

FHSIP is an Australian Government, AusAID initiative, which has worked with the Ministry of Health since 2003 to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Ministry in order to improve the quality of health services in Fiji. FHSIP has supported the Mental Health Program through training (both post-graduate and community nursing) and personnel.

Overall approaches to stopping stigma against mental illness involve programmes of advocacy, public education, and contact with persons with mental illness through community groups, schools and other societal institutions.

The launch today of the Ministry of Health's "Stop Stigma Against Mental Illness-Dare To Care" campaign aims to give mental health programs much needed support in order to progress the management of and recovery from mental illness.

ENDS

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