A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) calls on international development stakeholders to focus their attention on mental health.
The report offers evidence that people with mental health conditions and mental health disabilities are a vulnerable group that is subjected to stigma and discrimination on a daily basis. Individuals face barriers to accessing housing, education, employment, and in exercising their political and civil rights. They also face barriers gaining access to international development aid.
The report indicates that integrating mental health into international development plans can improve the lives of individuals living with mental health conditions around the world, a point that is further supported by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The key message of the WHO report is that international development stakeholders have an important role in designing and implementing policies and programs for individuals with mental health conditions. The report also calls on stakeholders to develop policies and strategies for protecting the human rights of people with mental health conditions, and to help build community capacity so that these individuals are better able to exercise their political and civil rights. The report provides several best practice examples from various parts of the world that can be used as starting points for integrating mental health into international development.
See “Mental Health and Development: Targeting People with Mental Health Conditions as a Vulnerable Group,” World Health Organization, 2010, available at www.who.int/mental_health.