All spectra article in the last 12 years in chronological order

16.05.2016

At first hand

Anyone who addresses health-related issues soon realises how important mental health is. It plays a crucial role in determining our well-being, whereas mental illnesses can seriously impair our quality of life and, particularly, our relations with the world around us. In recent decades, this awareness has generated a wide range of projects and initiatives in the fields of prevention, health promotion and primary healthcare, but also in education and the work environment. more

16.05.2016

Mental health in the context of health policy

Mental health. Mental illness causes a great deal of suffering, both for those directly affected and for their families. If this suffering and the consequential costs for the economy are to be reduced, there needs to be a more active engagement, better coordination of existing activities and improved networking of all players in the field of mental health. more

16.05.2016

Combating stigmatisation of mental illness

Projects/action days. Although much more attention has been given to mental illnesses in the last few years, stigma or taboos still attach to conditions such as depression, burnout or psychoses. While the Swiss government lacks a legislative framework for taking preventive action in this field, a large number of NGOs are actively engaged in running campaigns and other activities aimed at preventing, destigmatising and raising awareness of mental illness. Here is a brief overview. more

09.05.2016

Flu symptoms after unprotected sex? Go straight to the doctor!

Spring 2016 "LOVE LIFE" campaign. Many HIV-positive people experience fever, fatigue, night sweats, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat or rash in the first few weeks after being infected. Consequently, any flu-like symptoms occurring after unprotected sex with someone of unknown HIV status have to be investigated immediately. This is the main message of the "LOVE LIFE" campaign wave running since early May. more

06.04.2016

Prevention rather than cure: National Strategy for the Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases

Prevention. The Swiss government and cantons have approved a national strategy for preventing and combating non-communicable diseases. Some 2.2 million people in Switzerland currently suffer from one or more chronic diseases, generating around 80 percent of the country's entire health-related costs. The objective of the strategy is to prevent or delay the development of conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and to mitigate their consequences. It builds on existing prevention activities and bundles the resources of all the players involved. Appropriate measures will be drawn up by the end of the year. more

07.03.2016

At first hand

Editorial Diane Steber Büchli. Towards the end of the 20th century, illicit drugs became a serious public health problem in Switzerland, gaining widespread attention due to impoverished drug addicts and open drug scenes. To protect public health as well as public safety and security, professionals and politicians developed a multidisciplinary approach to the drug problem in the shape of the so-called "four-pillar policy", focussing on the pillars prevention, treatment, harm reduction and law enforcement. Many of the bold and innovative measures of the Swiss approach– needle exchange, injection rooms, substitution therapy with methadone and, in particular, heroin-assisted treatment – generated great interest and were taken up in other countries, too. more

07.03.2016

An opportunity for key shifts in international drug policy

UNGASS 2016. Eighteen years after its last Special Session on the topic of illicit drugs, the General Assembly of the United Nations has an opportunity to take ground-breaking decisions on international drug policy at a new Special Session scheduled for April 2016. Does it want to do so? Can it do so? What are its chances of success? more

07.03.2016

Improved access and respect for human rights in the treatment of opioid dependence

Pompidou Group. In many countries, the prescription of opioid medicines such as methadone or buprenorphine is subject to rigorous restrictions. An expert group of the Council of Europe's Pompidou Group, the international cooperation group to combat drug abuse and illicit trafficking in drugs, has now spoken out in favour of a paradigm shift: decisions to permit or prohibit the prescription of opioid medicines should be based on scientific findings and respect for human rights rather than on a repression-oriented approach. These medicines are the best possible treatment for large numbers of dependent opioid users, and therefore, in compliance with human rights, access to them should not be withheld or subjected to restrictions. On Switzerland's initiative, the experts nominated by participating Pompidou Group Member States are drawing up guidelines to help member states review their regulations on this form of therapy. Switzerland has been mandated to head this project. more

06.03.2016

Ruth Dreifuss: "What I expect from this year's UNGASS is, above all, honesty"

Interview with Ruth Dreifuss. After an interval of 18 years, a second United Nations Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem is to be held in New York in April 2016. Former government minister Ruth Dreifuss represented Switzerland at the 1998 Special Session as health minister. She will now be attending an UNGASS for the second time. We asked Ms Dreifuss what had changed since 1998. more

15.02.2016

Bending a cigarette communicates successful smoking cessation

SmokeFree Campaign 2016. The spring phase of the current SmokeFree campaign focuses on success in quitting smoking: it encourages smokers to draw up a concrete plan of action for kicking the habit and it aims to activate families and friends increasingly into providing support for people who want to stop smoking. To this end, it draws smokers' attention to effective assistance services such as the SmokeFree Buddy app. The campaign is financed by the Tobacco Prevention Fund. more