Honorary President

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to attend Abu Dhabi International Mental Health Conference, which proved in the past its success, fulfilling its objectives, thanks to Dr Darwish and Dr. Sabbahy I am pleased that the first word in the theme of the conference is (awareness). Awareness will change the image of mental health, will reduce stigma, seeking early help. To fight for reducing stigma of mental illness and early treatment will have its impact on the economy of any country. According to WHO one in every four is suffering from mental health problems. According to London School of Economics, treating depression and anxiety can increase the general domestic income by 2%. The burden of depression is higher than any other disease ,38% of the total burden of diseases, it will be the highest in 2030 among males and females. People with cancer, heart disease, strokes.. can work; however, people with depression cannot work whether with absenteeism or presenteeism, and those with other serious medical illness have often comorbid depression that affect their productivity.

Mental health is an integral component of general health, but has only rarely ac¬quired the important place it merits. It is an area that has been largely ignored or ne¬glected, although it affects and interacts with physical and social health. Mental health should constitute a vital priority for every individual's life, since a balanced mental state makes everyone more effective in coping with the stresses of life, working more produc¬tively and fruitfully, and responding more positively to the community's demands. Men¬tal health problems affect not only the individual's well-being and working capacity, but also affects the patient's family and the community at large.

Stigma is pernicious and what is worse there are indications that despite advances of psychiatry and medicine stigma continues to grow and has more and more often terrible consequences for patients and families. It is a basic component of the negative discrimination that people with mental illness experience every day. It blocks access to facilities and options that, in principle at least, have been created to help people impaired by mental illness.

My presentation will discuss how to reduce the effect of stigma of mental illnesses whether to patients, families, neighbors, jobs, housing…..etc. and how investment in mental health can affect the production and economy and the wellbeing of the citizens.

Prof. Ahmed Okasha
Honorary President of the Congress
Professor And Founder Institute of Psychiatry, Ain Shams University,Cairo, Egypt
President of World Psychiatric Association (2002-2005)
Hon. President Egyptian Psychiatric Association and Arab Federation of Psychiatrists
Adviser to the Egyptian President for Mental Health and Community Integration
Member of the Egyptian Presidential Council of Distinguished Scientists