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World Mental Health Day 2015

Dignity in Mental Health

Thousands of people with mental health conditions around the world are deprived of their human rights. They are not only discriminated against, stigmatized and marginalized but are also subject to emotional and physical abuse in both mental health facilities and the community. Poor quality care due to a lack of qualified health professionals and dilapidated facilities leads to further violations.

The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day, observed on 10 October, is "Dignity in mental health". This year, WHO will be raising awareness of what can be done to ensure that people with mental health conditions can continue to live with dignity, through human rights oriented policy and law, training of health professionals, respect for informed consent to treatment, inclusion in decision-making processes, and public information campaigns.

How can you join Coach Debbie Motivates in advocating for “Dignity in Mental Health”?

Use the hashtag #LifeMatters

“Your Life Matters.” is a social media campaign started by Coach Debbie Motivates to bring awareness to the reality of mental health in diverse communities. This includes faith-based, communities of color (African American, Haitian, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, etc.), socioeconomically disadvantaged, and many other cultural facets.

In 2013, there were 41,149 deaths by suicide in the United States. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death; homicide ranks 16th. It is the second leading cause of death for 15 - 24 year olds (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The ‘Your Life Matters” campaign brings attention to this through twitter, instagram, facebook,, and online articles.

Untreated mental health illnesses such as Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Alcohol abuse, drug abuse, PTSD, eating disorders, and other related trauma can lead to serious and life threatening consequences. Yet, we can be the change and save lives through education, empowerment, and compassionate platforms that break the stigma through collaboration and consistency. Dignity makes the difference and together, we can change and save lives.

What is the World Health Organization doing to promote the dignity of people with mental health conditions?

Through the QualityRights protect, WHO is committed to ensuring that the dignity of people with mental health conditions is respected all around the world.

WHO QualityRights promotes dignity by:

  • Advocating for political and social inclusion -working collaboratively with governments, health professionals, families and people with mental health conditions to ensure that the views of the latter are heard and listened to at policy, service and community levels.

  • Promoting a recovery approach to mental health care -This means much more than merely treating or managing symptoms. It is about building the capacity of mental health workers to support people with mental health conditions to realise their hopes and dreams, to work, to enjoy family and friends, and to live a full and rewarding life in their community.

  • Supporting human rights training and capacity building -QualityRights has developed training programmes to build the capacity of families and health-care professionals to understand and promote the rights of people with mental health conditions, and to change attitudes and practices towards them.

  • Encouraging the creation and strengthening of peer support and civil society organizations -QualityRights is helping people with mental health conditions and families feel connected through mutually supportive relationships and empowering them to advocate for the rights and dignity of people with mental health conditions.


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