Everyone is entitled to a life of dignity, Ban says on World Mental Health Day

Patients at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences in Delhi, India. WHO/P. Virot

10 October 2015 – Everyone has the right to respect and dignity, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has declared in his message on World Mental Health Day, highlighting that people who have mental health and psychosocial disabilities deserve to live with the dignity that is integral to a healthy and fulfilling life.

“Everyone is entitled to their hopes and dreams ­– to work, enjoy family and friends, go about their life without stigma and discrimination, and participate in decisions that affect them,” said Mr. Ban in his remarks on the Day, commemorated each year on 10 October and this year focused on the theme 'Dignity in mental health.'

The World Day “is an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges faced by people with mental and psychosocial disabilities, and of efforts needed to ensure that they can lead fulfilling and satisfying lives,” said the Secretary-General.

There are still many people around the world living with mental and psychosocial disabilities, many exposed to continuous discrimination, stigmatization, abuse and neglect from society, noted the UN chief.

“A lack of qualified health professionals, use of coercion in treatment and imprisonment in isolated mental and social health facilities further hinders their basic human rights and their prospects of recovery” he added.

Calling for increasing people's awareness of the challenges faced by people with mental disabilities, Mr. Ban urged governments around the world to ensure they are able to go about their life without stigma and discrimination, and participate in decisions that affect them. “Services need to promote this and communities need to support this,” he said.

The first target in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda stresses the need to ensure all humans can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment. Providing help to the people with mental disabilities will advance the process to meet the newly-adopted target.

“Together, we can help make sure that people with mental health and psychosocial disabilities can live with the dignity that is integral to a healthy and fulfilling life,” concluded the Secretary-General.


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