“World Mental Health Day,” celebrated 10 October every year, is a global campaign advocating mental health and educating the public. The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) established World Mental Health Day in 1992 and broadcast a two-hour telecast across the globe for the first three years to promote mental health. Since then, the WFMH has worked with local campaigns to arrange World Mental Health Day events. The Day provides all mental health stakeholders an opportunity to discuss urgent issues and possible solutions to mobilise efforts to better mental health care worldwide.
This year’s theme is “Mental Health in an Unequal World,” which highlights the world’s unequal access to mental health services due to socioeconomic inequalities. Most people with mental disorders in low- and middle-income countries are unable to access mental health services. The low priority and lack of investment into mental health have exacerbated mental health treatment’s unmet needs. Since the stigma associated with mental illness also affects educational opportunities and earning and job prospects, a lower socioeconomic status further impedes health care access. Lastly, the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the effects of healthcare inequalities on global mental health.
This year’s campaign slogan, “Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality,” reflects WFMH’s and other stakeholders’ determination to highlight these issues and advocate for better mental health care.
In support, the World Health Assembly has updated their “Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030” on 21 September 2021. Updates bring the plan in line with policy decision, WHA72(11), regarding the prevention and control of mental health illness. This action plan builds upon its predecessors by including revised indicators and implementation options and updated global targets for mental health stakeholders to promote mental health, well-being, preventative care, and universal mental health services coverage. Unchanged are the plan’s four core objectives:
- More effective leadership and governance for mental health.
- The provision of comprehensive, integrated mental health and social care services in community-based settings.
- Implementation of strategies for promotion and prevention.
- Strengthened information systems, evidence, and research.