Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the World Health Organization (WHO) “Big Event” on mental health, today:
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a crisis like no other in our lifetimes. The scale of the impact on people’s mental health is only now becoming clear. It could have serious implications for many years to come. People all over the world are facing grief at the loss of loved ones; anxiety at the loss of jobs; difficult family dynamics; uncertainty and fear for the future. Older persons face isolation and loneliness.
People living with mental health conditions before the pandemic are trying to cope with disruptions to care and worsening symptoms. Also, millions of people living through humanitarian emergencies risk having their mental health needs overlooked entirely.
This is why, early in the crisis, I called for action to invest in and strengthen mental health systems in all countries. Mental health services are an essential part of all Government responses to COVID-19. They must be expanded and fully funded. Addressing mental health is central to achieving universal health coverage. It deserves our commitment.
Too few people have access to quality mental health services. We must seize the opportunity to support the recovery from COVID-19 by building mental health services for the future. We must commit to investing collectively in our own mental health, in the mental health of our communities, and in the mental health of our society as a whole. Let us work together to ensure mental health for all people, everywhere.