Urbanization, social disparities and their impact on mental health

Invitation to WKC forum, 4 March 2011

In the belief that urbanization is a key determinant of health, the World Health Organization Centre for Health and Development (WHO Kobe Centre –WKC) carries out research on how health is affected by social, economic and environmental change and the kind of health policy responses needed. It also supports the sharing of information on technical cooperation, capacity building and successful case studies.

While urbanization brings industrial and economic development, its downside can be stress, worse living conditions, alienation, unstable employment and changed behaviours, and these have been shown to have a negative influence on mental health. In a 2008 report, WHO warns that many people think that mental disorders affect only a small subgroup of the population, but the reality is that up to 60% of people attending primary care clinics have a diagnosable mental disorder. Many are not receiving the care they need because of lack of understanding, and we know that mental health status affects physical health also. It is vital that more effort is put into addressing and preventing mental health issues. Integrating mental health services into primary health care generates good health outcomes at reasonable cost, and WHO calls for better health systems, policy and training to make it happen.

With the theme, “Urbanization, social disparities and their impact on mental health”, this forum presents the current situation in Japan and abroad and the measures being taken. It will enhance understanding, through data on urban health inequities, that social disparities are a risk to health. This is an opportunity not to be missed.

TIME: Friday, 4 March 14:00-16:00

PLACE: Koryu Hall, 3F, International Health Development Centre

CAPACITY: 100

FEE: Free

LANGUAGE: Japanese (English consecutive interpretation available)

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