The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) takes this opportunity, during a time when the world is confronted by the unprecedented mental health consequences and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on billions of people, to launch the World Mental Health Day campaign. The theme for this year is:
Mental Health for All
Greater Investment – Greater Access
As we launch World Mental Health Day, which will be celebrated globally on the 10 October, we call for the urgent redress and investment in mental health – a call which can no longer be ignored. Dr Daniels, President of WFMH says, “Now more than ever greater investment in mental health is needed to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to mental health care. The under investment in mental health has left large treatment gaps globally. She added that, “Mental health is an investment and not an expense and should be prioritised to avert a further catastrophe.”
The worldwide pandemic arose against an already dire mental health landscape that saw mental health conditions on the rise across the globe. About 450 million people live with mental disorders that are among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide (WHO’s World Health Report, 2001).
The treatment gap remains large with 50% of people with mental disorders in high income countries and 85% of persons in low-and middle income countries having no access to treatment (WHO, 2012). Fragile health systems have not been able to address or cope with the large treatments gaps and need for mental health care. We have observed how delicate health systems are further stretched and challenged by the increase in demand for mental health interventions as a result of the pandemic.
Hard and drastic lockdown measures implemented to reduce COVID-19 transmissions and deaths saw the enforcement of physical isolations and distancing become a new reality disrupting natural social interactions.
Parallel to emotional and health implications, large scale socio-economic fallout was witnessed as markets and economies were destabilised. The overwhelming impact of the virus has revealed and exposed the deep inequalities and levels of poverty experienced by many causing further mental distress and vulnerability.
According to WHO’s “Mental Health Atlas 2014” survey, governments spend on average 3% of their health budgets on mental health, ranging from less than 1% in low-income countries to 5% in high-income countries. The value of investment needed over the period 2016–30 for scaling up treatment, primarily psychosocial counselling and antidepressant medication, amounted to US$ 147 billion (Chisholm, et al, 2016).
Yet the returns far outweigh the costs. The WHO (2019) states that for every US$ 1 put into scaled up treatment for common mental disorders, there is a return of US$ 4 in improved health and productivity. “Despite hundreds of millions of people around the world living with mental disorders, mental health has remained in the shadows,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group. Despite a growth in mental health awareness, mental health investment has been stagnant across the globe. It is clear that greater movement and action needs to be seen within countries to increase access to mental health for all.
HRH Princess Iman Afzan Al-Sultan Abdullah of Malaysia, Patron of World Mental Health Day says,
“While COVID-19 has increased the spotlight on mental health, the stocktaking of how greater access to mental healthcare can be improved must always be a continuous process. We can always do more to strengthen mental health response and support in our communities.” She added that, “These investments are not purely the government’s responsibility, nor should doctors be the only answer for those suffering. These investments are the responsibility of all. More importantly, they indicate that we ourselves are an untapped resource in mental healthcare.”
World Mental Health Day is simply not a one day event and provides us with the opportunity and advantage to hold the attention of governments, donors, policy-makers and all stakeholders to ensure action for greater investment in mental health. Let us hold hands and unify our voices in moving the mental health investment agenda for increased focus and access to mental health and thereby making mental health a reality for all – everyone, everywhere.
The Key Events and Activation for WMHD
- Joint media release by WHO, WFMH and United for Global Mental Health
- The World Federation for Mental Health has put together the educational material to support this year’s World Mental Health Day theme and this will be available for download from the WFMH website from 1 September 2020 on this link: https://wfmh.global/world-mental-health-day-2020/
- Distribution of Infographics
- Our World Mental Health Day Call to Action, written by Professor Pamela Collins and Professor Deepa Rao highlights that the Sustainable Development Goal targets cannot be achieved without social justice and investment in mental health.
- WFMH is beginning a 45 day mental health awareness raising Global Digital Campaign led by the WFMH Youth Section starts on 1 September 2020.
- This campaign will facilitate a Virtual Global Forum to engage in conversations and dialogues to heighten awareness and call for greater investment in mental health.
- Unique and unparalleled, the mental health art spectacle will pave the way for mental well-being as multiple artists coalesce their efforts at one platform, for one cause – MENTAL HEALTH.
- An outreach campaign featuring creatives and video promos that will unravel the series of events planned, distinguished speakers and celebrated artists joining us for the Grand Celebration – the World Mental Health Day.
- A social media digital campaign using a custom-made Instagram filters and other social media platforms to garner worldwide support will be launched as we stand in solidarity for mental wellbeing and embark on our global mental health expedition
- WFMH members across the world will be initiating their campaigns and call for greater investment in mental health using various activations such as; moving for mental health, virtual International Kite Festival to raise awareness and call for action, Conferences and Summits,etc.,
- Other partners such as; the Clubhouse International will engage in a global social media campaigns giving the opportunity for people with the lived experience of mental illness to call for great investment and access to mental health care.
- WFMH has also set up a 2020 WMHD Virtual Wall Fundraising Campaign to support mental health NGO’s in low income countries to facilitate greater access to mental health.
Note to the Editor – World Federation for Mental Health
WFMH is an international membership organization founded in 1948 to advance, among all peoples and nations, the prevention of mental and emotional disorders, the proper treatment and care of those with such disorders, and the promotion of mental health.
World Mental Health Day is a programme of the World Federation for Mental Health and annually raises awareness within the global community about the mental health challenges, gaps and priorities through collaborative and unifying voices aimed at taking action, addressing and creating lasting change in a world where we need to restore the dignity of all living with mental health needs.
World Mental Health Day was first observed on 10 October 1992 as an annual activity of the World Federation for Mental Health aimed at promoting mental health advocacy and educating the public on relevant issues. Celebrated on the 10th October, it provides an opportunity to place the spotlight on the mental health challenges experienced in our world today.
For more information
Prof Gabriel Ivbijaro MBE JP, Secretary General WFMH
Email address: secretary general firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Ingrid Daniels, President WFMH
Email address: email@example.com