Talk, Parallel sessions
A global challenge: Thoughts on mental health and substance use crises
Thursday June 22, 16:10, Alternative Stage GNO
Mental health and substance use are global challenges that affect millions of people worldwide.
Through his personal journey with mental health and addiction, Patrick K. Kennedy, former US Representative and co-founder of the Kennedy Forum emphasized the importance of treating mental illness and addiction as a priority, rather than stigmatizing those who experience them. He underscored that people often feel ashamed to discuss their mental health challenges and substance use issues, leading to a lack of support from society and the health care system. By mentioning personal examples, Kennedy helped the audience understand that there is still a lot of stigma towards people who are fighting addiction. To address this, he highlighted three key factors that are crucial for those who are struggling with mental health and substance use: medicine, counselling, and social connection. He emphasized the importance of giving mental health and substance use the same level of attention and funding as physical health.
In conclusion, he expressed an optimistic outlook regarding the transformation of societal attitudes towards mental health and substance use, emphasizing the crucial necessity of prioritizing mental health concerns rather than relegating them to a secondary status among our problems.