Tuesday, November 01, 2005

International Consensus Statement of Women’s Health

Donna E. Stewart, MD, President of International Association for Women's Mental Health, has recently announced that a final version of the International Consensus Statement of Women’s Health is ready (this older version is all I can find on the net). This document was accepted, to her surprise and delight, at the XIII World Congress of Psychiatry in Cairo. Donna E. Stewart is Professor and Chair of Women's Health at University Health Network and University of Toronto. She and her international team are now in the process of getting the statement endorsed by various organizations. The following are the recommendations .

"We recommend that professional mental health and health organizations and providers, governments, the United Nations system, the World Health Organization, other international health and social organizations and appropriate nongovernmental organizations integrate girls’ and women’s mental health as a priority in policy and program development and… Support psychological health promotion programs that encompass the life context of girls and women to include equal access to basic human rights, education and employment, the elimination of violence and discrimination and the reduction of poverty. Support women’s marital, sexual and reproductive choices and ensure access to safe motherhood. Support public education and awareness campaigns that increase recognition and reduce the stigma of mental illness in girls and women Support safe, respectful, appropriate, gender sensitive comprehensive mental health and physical health services for girls and women across the life cycle irrespective of their economic and social status, race, nationality or ethnocultural background. Support timely access to adequately skilled mental health professionals who provide quality of care consistent with best current knowledge and availability of appropriate therapy, technology or drugs and who take women’s special needs into consideration. Support the development and use of culturally appropriate diagnostic systems that consider the sociocultural context of women’s lives, and biological differences when they are salient. Support the provision of accurate information and respect choices in treatment decision making by girls and women whenever possible Support the provision of mental health care for girls and women that is free from breaches in fiduciary responsibility Support increased attention to research on girls’ and women’s mental health including those factors which enhance or inhibit the development of resiliency. Support the provision of core training and education about gender issues for health, and mental health, professionals. Support gender equality in practice and promotion within mental health services and organizations including equal opportunities for advancement and eradication of gender harassment, intimidation or unjustified discrimination on the basis of sex."

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