World Mental Health Day 2023 | Mental Health is a Universal Human Right

The aim of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to celebrate the efforts being made in support of mental health.

The Day provides an opportunity for everyone who is interested in mental health issues to talk about their experiences, and to think about what more needs to be done to make good mental health a reality for people worldwide.

The theme for 2023 is: ‘Mental health is a universal human right’

What does this actually mean? It means that everyone, whoever and wherever they are, has a right to the highest possible standard of mental health. 

This includes :

  • the right to be protected from mental health risks, 
  • the right to available, accessible, and good quality care, 
  • and the right to liberty, independence and inclusion in the community.

Where are we now?

According to the World Health Organisation, one in eight people globally are living with mental health conditions, which can impact negatively on their physical health, their well-being, how they connect with others, and their livelihoods. 

Mental health difficulties can affect everyone, at any point in their lives. However, we also know that some people face more barriers to good mental health than others, including those with long-term health conditions, refugees and asylum seekers, people who struggle with addictions, those who are socio-economically disadvantaged or who have faced trauma during childhood. 

What can I do?

You can start by being aware of your own basic right to mental health as well as how to protect the rights of others around you and elsewhere in the world.

From educational awareness raising campaigns to local community events, there are many ways to get involved and show support for mental health. 

  • Talk about mental health: Speak openly and honestly with friends, family and colleagues about mental health, and encourage others to do the same. 
  • Volunteer your time: Volunteering can be a great way to make a difference in your community and give you valuable and rewarding experiences at the same time. Look for organisations that support mental health and see if they have any volunteer opportunities available.
  • Learn about mental health: Take the time to educate yourself about mental health and the various issues surrounding it. This can be through reading books, attending workshops, or more formal training.
Written by Dr Louise Atkinson, Counselling Psychologist


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