In Brief

For the first time, the World Health Organization (WHO) has chosen mental health as the theme for World Health Day on April 7. This year's day, themed "Stop Exclusion...Dare to Care," is devoted to mental disorders--including depressive disorders, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, etc.--with a particular focus on child and adolescent mental health concerns.

WHO established World Health Day to increase awareness of important health issues among health professionals, policy-makers and the general public. The organization is urging mental health professionals to take this opportunity to curb the stigmatization of people with mental disorders and to show families, caregivers and communities the importance of supporting them.

"2001 will demonstrate WHO's commitment to improving the mental health situation world wide," says Benedetto Saraceno, MD, director of WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence. "World Health Day 2001 is one of a series of major activities carried out by WHO and its regional network as a means to encourage nations to develop mental health policies, put an end to exclusionary practices and develop treatment capacity."

To learn how you can participate in World Health Day 2001, visit the WHO Web site at www.who.int/world-health-day. Visitors can find a list of materials and activities to use on April 7.

--M. WATERS