The Minister of Health, Gaetan Pikioune, yesterday appointed the National Mental Health Committee (NMHC).

The purpose of establishing the NMCH is to provide evidence-based, balanced, timely, and confidential advice to stakeholders across various sectors on mental health issues affecting the citizens of Vanuatu.

The NMHC Executive consist of the Chair, Dr. Jimmy Obed from the Ministry of Health (MOH) ,William Nasak from VANGO as Deputy Chair, Secretary Peter Napuwat from MOH , Service user representative Rose Mary Worek, Donor partner Kingsley Garae from the World Health Organisation, Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Angela James (TA). The Organization members that are part of the NMHC include; Labor Department, Correctional Department, Ministry of Education, Vanuatu Police Force, Vanuatu Women’s Center, Ministry of Justice, Vanuatu Society for people with Disability and Community representative.

During this one day meeting the NMHC received their appointment letters and briefed on the mental health priorities according to mental Health policy and strategic plan of 2021-2030.

Core function of the National committee is to provide high-level, independent advice and guidance on the implementation of the National Mental Health Policy and Strategic Plan 2021-2030 and Mental Health act, review and recommend necessary reforms or supplementary strategies to enhance community mental health and well-being.

The establishment of the National committee will support to Identify and suggest improvements to funded programs to enhance support for mental illness, including the coordination, integration, and development of existing and new mental health programs as it aligns with the National Health Policy and Strategic Plan 2021-2030 and Mental Health Act.

The committee will act as a consultative forum to incorporate diverse perspectives and experiences of individuals with mental illness, as well as the views and concerns of their families and care providers and also establish effective communication and collaboration with sectors impacting mental health to provide mental health-sensitive guidance and seek input on mental health-specific actions.

After the reactivation of the NMHC, the Mental Health unit also established the mental health working group and working group members are from the Non-Government organizations and Government Departments.

The NMCH and the Mental Health working group will support the MOH’s Mental Health program to advocate for mental health issues in Vanuatu.