GENEVA, SWITZERLAND -- (Marketwired) -- 05/21/13 -- Editors' Note: A photo for this release will be available on the Canadian Press picture wire via Marketwired.
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today wrapped up her participation in the 66th World Health Assembly (WHA) with a discussion on approaches to mental health promotion and suicide prevention with health officials representing other circumpolar nations.
"Canada's northern regions present some of the most challenging and complex mental health and social issues in the country," said Minister Aglukkaq. "As Minister of Health and Chair of the Arctic Council, I hope today's discussion will help build momentum on tackling mental wellness in the North, and inspire us all to take action."
The Minister hosted today's roundtable to build upon commitments made in 2011 by Arctic Health Ministers in the Nuuk Arctic Health Declaration and launch a dialogue on mental health and wellness. Participants shared research outcomes, innovative approaches and best practices for promoting mental wellness and preventing suicide.
Also while at the WHA, the Minister hosted a panel discussion that examined how different sectors - including the private sector, governments and non-profit organizations - can work together to promote mental health and broaden the understanding of mental illness. The Assembly also provided the opportunity for the Minister to meet with Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization, and with health ministers/secretaries from other countries to discuss health issues and opportunities for working together in the future.
The Minister's statement to the Plenary affirmed the Government of Canada's commitment to addressing growing health issues including mental health and noncommunicable diseases, encouraged the involvement of other sectors to address evolving health challenges and emphasized the need to retain a focus on achieving the "unfinished business" of the health-related Millennium Development Goals, especially maternal and child health, after the 2015 deadline.
The World Health Assembly is the main governing body of the World Health Organization (WHO), representing over 194 countries. Canada has been a member of the WHO since its inception in 1948.
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Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health
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