World Health Day: Building a fairer, healthier world for everyone

Psychiatrists and World Health Day – Building a fairer, healthier world for everyone

World Health Day is an annual global awareness day held by the World Health Organization (WHO) which highlights a specific health topic or area of concern. In years past, the WHO has focused World Health Day’s celebration on topics like mental health, maternal care and childcare, and climate change. World Health Day occurs every April 7th, with events and activities scheduled year-round to help reinvigorate the healthcare community’s energy towards the topic.  

This year, the World Health Day is focused on building a fairer, healthier world for everyone - specifically in the wake of COVID-19. Coronavirus has left the world in shambles, causing unemployment levels to skyrocket, increasing likelihood of depression, anxiety, drug and substance abuse, and child abuse. In this article, we will explore what it means to make a “fairer, healthier world for everyone” and how psychiatrists can help patients navigate mental illnesses caused by coronavirus.
  

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Low-income communities and health challenges

The World Health Organization writes, “Our world is an unequal one. As COVID-19 has highlighted, some people are able to live healthier lives and have better access to health services than others - entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work and age.” 

Poverty can also contribute towards worsened mental health. The CDC reports that 8.7% of people who have incomes below the poverty level report severe psychological distress, as well as show high crime and violence rates, increased likelihood of anxiety and depression, and worse access to adequate healthcare facilities and schools.
 

“All over the world, some groups struggle to make ends meet with little daily income, have poorer housing conditions and education, fewer employment opportunities, experience greater gender inequality, and have little or no access to safe environments, clean water and air, food security and health services. This leads to unnecessary suffering, avoidable illness, and premature death. And it harms our societies and economies.” The WHO continues.

How Psychiatrists can contribute

Psychiatrists can play a critical role in ensuring the World Health Organization’s mission of building a healthier and fairer world for everyone. By accepting positions in low-economic communities, skilled psychiatrists can help serve patients where mental health is already compromised to help lessen the healthcare quality gap.

Not only can practicing psychiatry in low-economic areas be emotionally rewarding, but also financially rewarding. According to Salary.com, psychiatrists can expect to earn an annual salary of $232,539 depending on location, company size, and years of experience. If you are interested in exploring new opportunities within psychiatry, be sure to check our open positions.

Steps towards achieving equal healthcare

For some communities, access to healthcare is unreliable (and sometimes impossible), leaving patients deserted and allowing the coronavirus to continue to spread unchecked. However, there are ways in which healthcare professionals can work to increase equality within their hospital system and in their community.  

Encourage leaders to monitor health inequalities
 
Urge leaders to ensure that high quality care is being delivered where it is needed most 
Increase awareness of racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare and in the general public 

It is important to remember that every voice can make a difference. It does not matter what role you have within your organization; it is up to everyone to continue monitoring for racial and ethnic disparities and work to identify opportunities for improvements. Only then can we make a world where high-quality healthcare is reliable and available for everyone.
  

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Sources: 
https://www.ehstoday.com/covid19/article/21139889/drug-abuse-on-the-rise-because-of-the-coronavirus 
https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2021



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