WHO Director-General launched the Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 during the mhGAP Forum on 7 October 2013. She described the Mental Health Action Plan as a landmark achievement: it focuses international attention on a long-neglected problem and is firmly rooted in the principles of human rights. The action plan calls for changes. It calls for a change in the attitudes that perpetuate stigma and discrimination that have isolated people since ancient times, and it calls for an expansion of services in order to promote greater efficiency in the use of resources.
WHO’s comprehensive mental health action plan 2013-2020 has now been adopted by the 66th World Health Assembly. The action plan is the outcome of extensive global and regional consultations over the last year with a broad array of stakeholders including: 135 Member States; 60 WHO CCs and other academic centres; 76 NGOs and 17 other stakeholders and experts.
The four major objectives of the action plan are to:
- strengthen effective leadership and governance for mental health.
- provide comprehensive, integrated and responsive mental health and social care services in community-based settings.
- implement strategies for promotion and prevention in mental health.
- strengthen information systems, evidence and research for mental health.
The plan sets important new directions for mental health including a central role for provision of community based care and a greater emphasis on human rights. It introduces the notion of recovery, moving away from a pure medical model, and addresses income generation and education opportunities, housing and social services and other social determinants of mental health in order to ensure a comprehensive response to mental health.
The action plan also emphasises the empowerment of people with mental disabilities, the need to develop a strong civil society and the importance of promotion and prevention activities including for preventing suicides. The document outlines specific actions for Member States, international, regional and national level partners, and the Secretariat and includes several indicators and targets, such as a 20% increase in service coverage for severe mental disorders and a 10% reduction of the suicide rate in countries by the year 2020, that can be used to evaluate levels of implementation, progress and impact.
Many Member States took the floor. They emphasized the importance of mental health and appreciated the wide consultations with Member States and other stakeholders including civil society, that WHO coordinated in the preparation of the Action Plan.
Article courtesy of WHO International