World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues and mobilizing efforts in support of better mental health. The day is celebrated at the initiative of the World Federation of Mental Health and is supported by World Health Organisation and its partner institutions through raising awareness on mental health issues. World Mental Health Day was observed for the first time on 10 October 1992.
World Mental Health Day 2023
The theme for World Mental Health Day 2023 is "Our minds, our rights".
World Mental Health Day 2023 is an opportunity for people and communities to unite behind the theme ‘Mental health is a universal human right” to improve knowledge, raise awareness and drive actions that promote and protect everyone’s mental health as a universal human right.
Mental health is a basic human right for all people. Everyone, whoever and wherever they are, has a right to the highest attainable standard of mental health. This includes the right to be protected from mental health risks, the right to available, accessible, acceptable, and good quality care, and the right to liberty, independence and inclusion in the community.
Good mental health is vital to our overall health and well-being. Yet one in eight people globally are living with mental health conditions, which can impact their physical health, their well-being, how they connect with others, and their livelihoods. Mental health conditions are also affecting an increasing number of adolescents and young people.
Having a mental health condition should never be a reason to deprive a person of their human rights or to exclude them from decisions about their own health. Yet all over the world, people with mental health conditions continue to experience a wide range of human rights violations. Many are excluded from community life and discriminated against, while many more cannot access the mental health care they need or can only access care that violates their human rights.
- Good mental health is an integral part of our overall health and wellbeing. Good mental health allows us to cope with challenges, connect with others and thrive throughout our lives. It’s vital and deserves to be recognised and respected.
- Mental health is a universal human right. Human rights are universal and serve to promote and protect people’s right to dignity, autonomy and community inclusion.
- Everyone has the right to access quality mental health care. Because mental health is a universal human right, we all have the right to access quality treatment that meets our needs and respects our rights across our lifetimes.
- Mental health conditions are a significant threat to the wellbeing of young people. Mental health conditions affect one in seven adolescents globally, with depression emerging as a leading cause of adolescent illness and disability.
- We must challenge the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health. We all have the right to live our lives free from stigma and discrimination in places like schools and workplaces.
- We all have the right to live independently and be included in the community. People must have access to good mental health services as well as education, income generation, housing opportunities and social support in order to live independently and be included in their communities.
- Good quality community mental health services and supports are crucial for all our futures. Mental health and well-being are fundamental to enjoy a good and meaningful life. It is vital to ensure that everyone can access community mental health services and supports. In particular, access to mental health support and resources in early life can make a real difference to the health and well-being of young people and adults in later life. This should be promoted as a priority in all countries.
- Recognising mental health as a universal human right empowers people to stand up for their rights – and for those around them. If people are not aware of their human rights, they are not able to advocate for them. By including people with lived experience of mental health conditions in decision-making on mental health issues, new policies, laws and service planning can be positively influenced and guided by their expertise.
- You might know your mind – but do you know your rights? Every person’s mind is wonderful, complex and different. But our rights are the same. By knowing your mental health rights, you can stand up for what’s right – for you and for others.
The health argument
- Close to one billion people have a mental disorder and anyone, anywhere, can be affected.
- Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. Globally, it is estimated that 5% of adults suffer from depression.
- Globally, one in seven 10-19-year-olds experience a mental disorder. Half of all such disorders start by age 14 years but most are undetected and untreated.
- People with severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia tend to die 10-20 years earlier than the general population.
- One in every 100 deaths is by suicide. It is the fourth leading cause of death for young people aged 15-29 years.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact on people’s mental health.
The care gap
- Despite the universal nature and the magnitude of mental ill health, the gap between demand for mental health services and supply remains substantial.
- Relatively few people around the world have access to quality mental health services.
- In low- and middle-income countries, more than 75% of people with mental health conditions receive no treatment for their condition at all.
- The serious gaps that still exist in mental health care are a result of chronic under-investment over many decades in mental health promotion, prevention and care.
- Stigma, discrimination and human rights abuses of people with mental health conditions remain widespread.
The economic cost
- The lost productivity resulting from depression and anxiety, two of the most common mental disorders, costs the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year.
The investment deficit
- On average, countries spend less than 2% of their national health budgets on mental health.
- Despite an increase of development assistance for mental health in recent years, it has never exceeded 1% of development assistance for health.
The good news
- Some of the most common mental health conditions, depression and anxiety, can be treated with talking therapies, medication, or a combination of these.
- For every US$ 1 invested in scaled-up treatment for depression and anxiety, there is a return of US$ 5.
- For every US$ 1 invested in evidence-based treatment for drug dependence, there is a return of up to US$ 7 in reduced crime and criminal justice costs.
- Generalist health workers can be trained to diagnose and treat mental health conditions.
- Regular health checks of people with severe mental disorders can prevent premature death.
- The quality of life of people living with conditions such as autism and dementia can be greatly improved when their caregivers receive appropriate training.
- The rights of people living with mental health conditions can be protected and promoted through mental health legislation, policy, development of affordable, quality community-based mental health services and the involvement of people with lived experience.
Source : WHO
- Depression and suicide: what you need to know and what you can do
- World Mental Health Report: Transforming Mental health for All.