World Mental Health Day 2015 (TM) – Dignity in Mental Health

iStock_000005349409Small SmileToday is World Mental Health Day. The World Federation for Mental Health initiated the first World Mental Health Day back in 1992 and it’s been going strong ever since. The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is Dignity in Mental Health.

There’s a handy document at the World Federation’s site for those who want to delve a bit deeper. This document has been well planned and covers a broad range of issues relevant to the theme of dignity in mental health. There are first person narratives on experiences of mental illness, a mental health first aid action plan from Australia as well as a look at how dignity can be achieved in organisations, health sectors and in public health messages.

World Mental Health Day has taken on a life of its own and its great to see how organisations as well as people struggling with mental illness are able to rally around this day while sharing their own stories or offering advice and insights.

The World Health Organisation has a high profile campaign as we would expect from an organisation of this gravitas. Many high profile figures have also supported this day, helping to bring a much wider awareness.

The King’s Fund has released an alternative guide to mental health to coincide with World Mental Health Day

and the inimitable Stephen Fry has teamed up with Think Ahead to support the much needed recruitment of mental health social workers.

Before I finish I thought I might add a few points of my own. I see things through the ‘illness lens’. I am interested in helping people to diagnosis, overcome, recover from or manage illness. After all that’s why people see psychiatrists. There are many different mental illnesses. People have vastly differing experiences of mental illness. For this reason it is difficult for me to draw any broad conclusions about dignity in mental health.

Perhaps we should focus on very specific issues. Maybe we should measure progress as well. After all that’s how many things tend to be done well. World Mental Health Day could be the first of 365 days to make big changes. Each of us could advance this agenda. Even those with little or no experience can use an approach such as the Australian Mental Health First Aid action plan.

One thing though is very clear to me. As I write this in the last few hours of World Mental Health Day I am pleasantly surprised to see that there has already been a big conversation about this today. This conversation is already evidence of mental health being treated with dignity by the global community.



Index: There are indices for the TAWOP site here and here Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog. Conflicts of Interest: For potential conflicts of interest please see the About section.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s