Wednesday, October 10, 2012

World Mental Health Day 2012

World Mental Health (WMH) Day is an occasion to raise awareness and discussion of mental health issues. In India, mental health conditions such as depression are often linked to the consequences of poverty, war and conflict and the resulting trauma and this has a devastating effect on mental health. These factors significantly erode the dignity and well-being of people and can result in psychosocial disability.

WMH Day (10th October) raises public awareness about mental health issues. The day promotes open discussion of mental disorders, and investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services. This year, on the 20th anniversary, the theme for the day is “Depression: A Global Crisis”. Depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages, in all communities, and is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease. Although there are known effective treatments for depression, access to treatment is a problem in most countries and in some countries fewer than 10% of those who need it receive such treatment. The recent case of suicide by Singer Asha Bhosle’s daughter (chronic depression patient) is a clear cut example. 

People living with psychosocial disabilities are often regarded as inferior beings and thus non deserving of being fully included in all aspects of society on an equal basis with others. They remain invisible and are silenced. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) lays the foundation for challenging existing legislative frameworks, policies and programs that reflect these discriminatory attitudes and practices.

This Convention confirms the rights of people with psychosocial disabilities to have equal recognition before the law, to have access to justice, to not be deprived of their liberty simply because of the existence of a mental condition/disability, to be free from abuse, exploitation, violence and abuse, to have a family, to vote, to access education and health care services on an equal basis with their fellow citizens. Importantly this Convention does not allow for the segregation of people but rather promotes that people with psychosocial disabilities are included in their communities. This also lays the foundation for the end of institutionalization in mental health facilities and an urgent emphasis of providing accommodation and support in the communities.

Importantly, the voices of users and survivors of psychiatry and people with psychosocial disability must be heard and their visibility promoted.

Negative attitudes towards people with psychosocial disabilities devalue them and often provide a rationale for the discrimination and marginalization that exists. Legislative frameworks, including Mental Health Legislation, Policies and Plans can even formalize and legitimize these practices and beliefs and entrench inequality and violate their rights. Respect for the rights of people with psychosocial disabilities within the framework of the Convention can significantly and positively transform their lives.

Download WMH Day material in English

Download WMH Day material in Hindi 

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