Today is World Mental Health Day. The theme this year is dignity and mental health.
Dignity: It refers to an individual’s inherent value and worth and is strongly linked to respect, recognition, self-worth and the possibility to make choices. Being able to live a life with dignity stems from the respect of basic human rights including:
- freedom from violence and abuse;
- freedom from discrimination;
- autonomy and self-determination;
- inclusion in community life; and
- participation in policy-making
The dignity of many people with mental health problems is not respected:
- Often, they are locked up in institutions
- Many are subjected to physical, emotional and sexual abuse and neglect
- They are often deprived of the right to make decisions for themselves
- They are denied access to general and mental health care
- They are prevented from fully participating in society
- They are often deprived of access to education and employment opportunities
How can we promote the rights and dignity of people with mental health conditions?
In the health care system
- Provide community-based services, encompassing a recovery approach;
- Respect people’s autonomy, including their right to make their own decisions about their treatment and care; and
- Ensure access to good quality care that promotes human rights, is responsive to people’s needs, and respects their values, choices and preferences.
In the community
- Support people with mental health conditions to participate in community life and acknowledge the value of their contribution.
- Respect their autonomy to make decisions for themselves, including about their living arrangements and personal and financial matters;
- Ensure their access to employment, education, housing, social support and other opportunities; and
- Include people in decision-making processes on issues affecting them, including policy, legislation and health service reform relating to mental health.
Link to the WHO World Mental Health Day 2015 web page:
Link to the World Mental Health Day 2015 information sheet(web page):
Link to the World Mental Health Day 2015 information sheet(PDF):
Link to the Comprehensive mental health action plan 2013-2020 web page of WHO: