Coordinated Response Needed To Capitalize On Momentum Of WHO’s Adoption Of Mental Health Resolution

“We commend the 130th session of the WHO Executive Board for adopting a resolution calling for a comprehensive response to the global burden of mental illnesses,” Rebecca Hock of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Mental Health, and colleagues, write in this Lancet opinion piece. “The resolution for mental health, led by India, the U.S., and Switzerland, is the result of a crescendo of political support for addressing mental illnesses and received unanimous support from countries on the WHO Executive Board,” the authors write, noting, “The resolution urges countries to protect and promote the rights of persons with mental disorders and to combat stigma against mental illness.”

“Crucially, it prioritizes the integration of mental health services within primary care and calls for the development of a plan that will address both health and social services, while seeking key involvement from people with mental disorders in its planning,” they continue. “This resolution is also a necessary first step to bringing mental, neurological, and substance use disorders to the highest level of discussion — a U.N. General Assembly Special Session,” they write, concluding, “We call for a coordinated response to this resolution by all interested parties, including WHO, U.N. member states, service users, and caregivers, as well as civil society groups. … Let us capitalize on the momentum generated by this resolution and ensure that the world proportionately prioritizes mental health” (4/14).