The Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly: Urgent global action to prioritise mental health

PRNewswire May 19, 2023

LONDON, May 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — As WHO Member States, funders, health practitioners, civil society organisations and businesses engage at the Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland from 21st – 30th May, under the theme “WHO at 75: Saving lives, driving health for all”, the integration of mental health in all health programming is imperative.

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Poor mental health impacts almost everyone at some point in their lives. Taking action to support each other through those challenging times is a core part of delivering Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing. It also contributes to the success of many other SDGs – covering everything from high-quality education to ending poverty.

There is no better place to make this message heard and to agree solutions than at the World Health Assembly.

UN Member States acknowledge the impact of COVID-19, conflict, economic and environmental crises on people’s mental health. The unprecedented pressure exerted by these emergencies has underscored the urgent need to prioritise mental well-being. All Member States are committed to upholding the universal right to the highest attainable level of physical and mental health through the delivery of the WHO Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2023 in their territories.

Sarah Kline – CEO of United for Global Mental Health says: “Mental health is a human right, an essential component of overall health, and a key driver of economic productivity. Knowing the profound impact of mental health on individuals, communities, and societies, we need the World Health Assembly, to foster a global movement that strives to put mental health at the heart of the healthcare agenda”.

Five themes to be addressed:

  • Parity is essential: Mental health should be treated as just as important as physical health in all discussions and the voices of people with lived experience of mental and physical health conditions must be heard.
  • Integrating mental health accelerates all progress – whether that’s into UHC, PPR or TB programmes, or achieving the SDGs.
  • Children’s and young people’s mental health is the priority. Accelerating action to achieve the SDGs requires a focus on these age groups.
  • Crises exacerbate mental ill health. Programmes addressing pandemics, conflict and natural disasters must integrate mental health if they are to truly serve people’s needs.
  • Build on what we agree upon. We have the texts of previous high-level meetings on UHC and TB and the proposed UNGA Resolution on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support for Sustainable Development and Peace to mobilise collective action among Member States.

We strongly urge all member states attending the World Health Assembly to integrate mental health in their statements on the actions they are taking, and in the agreements made to work together in the future, including the health High-Level Meetings at the UN General Assembly later this year.

The time for action is now, and we cannot afford to delay any longer.

Together, we can create a world where mental health is universally valued, supported, and accessible to all. Let us seize this opportunity to make a lasting difference in the lives of millions around the globe.

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SOURCE United for Global Mental Health

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