Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on
the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard
of Physical and Mental Health on Right to Health
As Delivered by Gregory Staff
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The United States thanks Mr. Dainius Pūras for his report.
The United States appreciates the Special Rapporteur’s continued focus on mental health and behavioral well-being. We recognize the stigma that users of mental health care and services face, and we are concerned by the issues that arise when this stigma remains unchecked, especially when it leads to individuals not being able to access the care that they need. We also recognize the structural barriers that impede those in need of mental health care from accessing these services. For instance, we are concerned by the shortage of mental health professionals that many societies face all over the world.
In December 2016, our government enacted the Jeff Miller and Richard Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016. Among other things, this law gives certain veterans of our military immediate, appropriate, and consistent access to comprehensive mental health care in a manner that is sensitive to the experiences these men and women had during their time of service.
We encourage Mr. Pūras to continue his efforts to bring awareness to challenges and opportunities within mental health systems, and we look forward to continuing our work together to further improve the state of mental health care and services globally.
[QUESTION]: In his report, Mr. Pūras noted the need for further integration of mental health care into primary care. How do you suggest States better integrate mental health care and services into primary care and community services?