Mental health and injury prevention, including alcohol, disabilities, and substance abuse
The Mental Health and Injury Prevention programme in the Western Pacific Region includes other major areas of health concern such as reduction of alcohol-related harm, disability and rehabilitation programme, and control of substance abuse.
Mental health, the foundation for the well-being and effective functioning of individuals, is more than the absence of a mental disorder. It is the ability to think and learn, and the ability to understand and live with one's emotions and the reactions of others. It is a state of balance within a person and between a person and the environment. Physical, psychological, social, cultural, spiritual and other interrelated factors participate in producing this balance. The inseparable links between mental and physical health have been demonstrated.
In the area of injuries and violence prevention, WHO provides countries with support to develop and implement national policies, programmes and legislation; to promote public awareness and political commitment; and to strengthen national capacities in surveillance, intervention and monitoring. Issues associated with injuries and violence include: insufficient awareness and understanding of the magnitude of the problem; a lack of national policies and plans on injury prevention; and a limited national capacity to collect and analyse injury data and design interventions.
The reduction of alcohol-related harm is another major area of work of the WHO. Alcohol is the world's third largest risk factor for premature mortality, disability and loss of health; it is the leading risk factor in the Western Pacific and the Americas and the second largest in Europe. Harmful drinking is a major determinant for neuropsychiatric disorders, such as alcohol use disorders and epilepsy and other noncommunicable diseases. A significant proportion of the disease burden attributable to harmful drinking arises from unintentional and intentional injuries, including those due to road traffic accidents, violence, and suicides.
Substance abuse, which has substantial health, social and economic costs, has also become a major public health concern in both developed and developing countries in the Western Pacific Region. Policies which influence the levels and patterns of substance use and related harm can significantly reduce the public health problems attributable to substance use, and interventions at the health care system level can work towards the restoration of health in affected individuals.
On disability and rehabilitation programme, WHO provides support to Member States for the development and implementation of policy and programmes. It promotes public awareness and political commitment regarding the rights of people with disabilities and the need for multisector approaches to achieve these. WHO focuses its program through support for rehabilitation services, community based rehabilitation and assistive technology. It also contributes to development of disability data and surveillance. WHO continues to build upon efforts that ensure delivery of health services are inclusive of people with disabilities.