On the eve of World Health Day, this Saturday, John Paul II has appealed to all Christians to give special attention to the mentally ill. The Rome-based news agency Zenit, report that the Pope told 15,000 pilgrims in St Peter's Square on Thursday: "On this occasion, I renew my appeal so that each one, in keeping with his responsibilities, will be committed to defend the dignity and rights of mentally ill patients." The Holy Father said: "No one must remain indifferent to these brothers of ours. The Church looks upon those who suffer from this sickness with respect and affection, and exhorts the whole human community to accept them, giving special attention to the poorest and most abandoned." The World Health Organisation, who organise World Health Day, said the main goal of the day was to stimulate public debate on how to improve mental health around the world. In a statement they said: "Some 400 million people in the world suffer from mental or neurological disorders, or from psychological problems, such as those related to alcohol or drug abuse. Of every four people who turn to the health services for help, at least one is troubled by these disorders, which are often not correctly diagnosed and thus not treated." "We have solutions to treat many disorders, and to enable persons with mental/brain disorder to be functioning members of the community. Yet, societies still raise barriers to both the care and reintegration of people with mental disorders."
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