World Mental Health Day | United Nations in India

by Rahul Devi

In his message for World Mental Health Day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasizes the importance of mental health as a fundamental human right. Guterres acknowledges that one in eight people worldwide live with a mental health condition, and three out of four individuals affected receive inadequate treatment or no care at all. This issue is further exacerbated among women and young people. Additionally, stigma and discrimination remain prevalent obstacles impeding access to proper care.

Guterres asserts that mental health should not be considered a privilege but rather an inherent right, which must be incorporated into universal health coverage. Governments play a crucial role in promulgating care that prioritizes individuals’ recovery and upholds their rights. This includes strengthening community-based support and integrating psychological assistance into broader health and social care systems.

Overcoming abuses and dismantling barriers that hinder people from seeking help is essential. Addressing the root causes of mental health challenges, such as poverty, inequality, violence, and discrimination, is crucial for creating societies that are both compassionate and resilient.

World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to reaffirm and uphold mental health as a universal human right. It presents a chance for individuals and communities to unite behind the theme, “Mental health is a universal human right,” in order to broaden knowledge, raise awareness, and drive actions that promote and safeguard everyone’s mental well-being.

Everyone, irrespective of their identity or location, has a basic human right to the highest attainable standard of mental health. This encompasses protection from mental health risks, access to available, acceptable, and good-quality care, and the rights to liberty, independence, and inclusion in the community.

Sound mental health is indispensable for overall well-being and physical health. However, one in eight individuals worldwide lives with mental health conditions that negatively impact various aspects of their lives, including physical health, social connections, and livelihoods. The prevalence of mental health conditions among adolescents and young people is also alarming.

It is imperative that having a mental health condition does not deprive individuals of their human rights or exclude them from participating in decisions regarding their own health. Nevertheless, people with mental health conditions worldwide continue to face numerous human rights violations. They are frequently excluded from community life and subjected to discrimination. Additionally, many struggle to access the mental health care they require, or the care they do obtain violates their human rights.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is committed to working alongside its partners to foster the value, promotion, and protection of mental health. Urgent action is required to enable everyone to exercise their human rights and access quality mental health care. Joining the World Mental Health Day 2023 campaign provides an opportunity to delve deeper into one’s fundamental right to mental health and learn how to advocate for the rights of others.

For additional information and resources on World Mental Health Day 2023, individuals can visit the following link: [https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/2023](https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/2023)

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