Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki‑moon’s message for World Mental Health Day, observed on 10 October:
World Mental Health Day, which this year focuses on “dignity in mental health”, 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.
Despite a number of critical measures to address these challenges — including the landmark United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities — many people around the world living with mental and psychosocial disabilities continue to face discrimination, stigmatization, as well as physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect. 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.
Everyone has the right to respect and dignity. 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. Policies and laws need to ensure this, services need to promote this and communities need to support this. 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.