As the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) draws nearer and, the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) enters its final stages of drafting, there is a growing appeal for the inclusion of mental health. As the target date for the Millennium Development GoalsFundaMentalSDG is a global movement of organizations who are building a strong case for the addition of a specific and achievable mental health goal in the post-2015 SDG. They believe that there can be no substantial development without the inclusion of mental health.
Positive mental health is related to many aspects of human health and development. In addition to being critical to achieving success in addressing issues of poverty and economic development, direct links between positive mental health and successful outcomes in primary education, gender equality, child mortality, and maternal health have been established.
The World Health Organization estimates roughly 600 million people experience disability due to mental illness. Furthermore, mental and behavioural problems now account for roughly 7.5 percent of the global burden of disease – that is higher than cancer and cardiovascular disease.
To make a difference on a global scale, the inclusion of mental health as a SDG target is an essential part of gaining recognition by policy-makers worldwide about the vital role that mental health plays in people’s daily lives.
As former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan stated last week at a global conference on depression, “we need to place mental health in general and depression in particular within the post-2015 agenda…. there is no doubt that depression must become a global priority because it not only affects health and well-being but also diminishes labour productivity and economic growth.”