World Mental Health Day 2023: Mental health is a universal human right. That’s the theme of World Mental Health Day 2023, which is celebrated on October 10th every year. This day provides an opportunity to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and promote good mental well-being for everyone, everywhere.
But what does it mean to have a right to mental health? How can we ensure that everyone can access quality mental health care that respects their dignity and autonomy? And what can we do to support ourselves and others in achieving optimal mental health?
In this article, we will explore these questions and more. We will also share some tips and resources on how you can get involved in World Mental Health Day 2023 and make a positive difference in your own life and in your community.
What is World Mental Health Day?
World Mental Health Day is an annual event organized by the World Federation of Mental Health (WFMH) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners. The aim of this day is to increase public awareness and understanding of mental health issues, as well as to advocate for better policies and practices that protect and promote mental health as a human right.
Each year, World Mental Health Day has a specific theme that reflects the current challenges and opportunities in the field of mental health. The theme for 2023 is “Mental health is a universal human right”, which emphasizes the importance of respecting, protecting, and fulfilling the right to mental health for all people, regardless of their age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, or socioeconomic status.
Why is mental health a 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 the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights treaties.
Mental health is an integral part of our overall health and well-being. It affects how we think, feel, act, relate to others, and cope with challenges. Good mental health allows us to enjoy life, fulfill our potential, and contribute to society.
However, mental health is not equally distributed or valued around the world. According to WHO, 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.
Moreover, many people with mental health conditions face various forms of discrimination, stigma, violence, abuse, neglect, coercion, and exclusion from society. Many also lack access to adequate, affordable, acceptable, and quality mental health care that respects their rights and preferences. In some cases, they are subjected to harmful practices such as involuntary institutionalization, forced medication, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or psychosurgery without their consent.
These human rights violations not only violate the dignity and autonomy of people with mental health conditions but also prevent them from enjoying other rights such as education, employment, social security, housing, participation in public affairs, etc.
Therefore, it is essential to recognize that mental health is a universal human right that must be respected, protected, and fulfilled for everyone. This means that:
- People have the right to be protected from mental health risks such as violence, trauma, poverty, discrimination, and social isolation.
- People have the right to access available, accessible, acceptable, and good quality mental health care that meets their needs and respects their rights across their lifetimes.
- People have the right to liberty, independence, and inclusion in the community. They have the right to make decisions about their own health and lives, and to participate in all aspects of society without discrimination or coercion.
How can you get involved in World Mental Health Day 2023?
There are many ways you can get involved in World Mental Health Day 2023 and support the theme of “Mental health is a universal human right”. Here are some suggestions:
- Learn more about your basic right to mental health as well as how to protect the rights of others. You can visit the websites of WHO, WFMH, or other reputable organizations that provide information, resources, and guidance on mental health and human rights.
- Share your knowledge and experiences with others. You can use social media platforms, blogs, podcasts, videos, or other media outlets to spread awareness, educate, and inspire others about mental health and human rights. You can also join online or offline events, campaigns, or activities organized by various groups or individuals around the world. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay to join the global conversation.
- Advocate for change. You can use your voice and influence to demand better policies and practices that respect and promote mental health as a human right. You can contact your local, national, or international representatives, authorities, or organizations and urge them to take action on issues such as increasing funding and resources for mental health care, ending stigma and discrimination against people with mental health conditions, ensuring access to quality and rights-based mental health care for all, and abolishing harmful and coercive practices in mental health settings.
- Support yourself and others. You can take care of your own mental health by engaging in activities that make you happy, healthy, and resilient. You can also reach out to others who may need help or support and offer them your compassion, empathy, and assistance. You can also seek professional help if you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues. Remember that you are not alone and that there is hope and help available.
World Mental Health Day 2023 is an opportunity for people and communities to unite behind the theme of “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 the 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.
However, many people with mental health conditions continue to experience a wide range of human rights violations. They 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.
We can all play a role in ensuring that mental health is valued, promoted, and protected, and that urgent action is taken so that everyone can exercise their human rights and access the quality mental health care they need.
Join the World Mental Health Day 2023 campaign to learn more about your basic right to mental health as well as how to protect the rights of others. Share your knowledge and experiences with others, advocate for change, and support yourself and others in achieving optimal mental health.
Remember: Mental health is a universal human right. Our minds, our rights.