Mental Health and Well-being in the Global Goals

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By Urvashi Chauhan

Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs are 17 global goals that were adopted by all 193 states of the United Nation in September 2015. They are aimed to be attained by 2030. These goals aim at uplifting the global population economically, socially and environmentally. The motto of these goals is to “leave no one behind”.

One of the 17 goals is “good health and well being.” It’s a third and one of the most crucial and ambitious goals. We have seen in past year how much our focus shifted on health and well being due to world wide pandemic.

COVID-19, a communicable disease spread by a virus challenged the heath care systems. Lockdowns were imposed, normal activities halted. Populations were supposed to maintain a physical distance. People lived in isolation, there was increased fear and anxiety around the uncertainty of situation. In this period world not only suffered from a communicable disease but also went through yet another crisis of mental health.

Now more than ever is the need to address the mental health issues which affect the populations globally. People from different sections, caste, gender, race etc. Mental health doesn’t discriminate.

What is mental health and why does it matter in global scenario?

Mental health range from day to day social, emotional and psychological well being to mental disorders like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia etc.

The number of people who are suffering from mental illnesses has increased and this is becoming a global burden.
It’s a leading cause of disability, as a person with mental illness is not able to live up to their full potential, which cost the economy in terms of lost productivity and human life in terms of bad physical health or premature death.

In the words of Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Former Director-General, “Mental well-being is a fundamental component of WHO’s definition of health. Good mental health enables people to realize their potential, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and contribute to their communities.

Mental health matters, but the world has a long way to go to achieve it. Many unfortunate trends must be reversed-neglect of mental health services and care, and abuses of human rights and discrimination against people with mental disorders and psychosocial disabilities.”

What are the issues faced around the topic of mental health?

  • There is stigma and judgement attached to mental health.
  • Lack of awareness around the topic.
  • Human rights violation in the form of discrimination and abuse against the people who are suffering from any mental illness.
  • Premature deaths (eg: suicide) due to treatable mental illness.
  • Substance abuse is very common and often goes unaddressed.
  • The treatment gap is huge and the patients aren’t able to get proper access to the health care system.

How common are mental health issues?

Mental health issues are way more common than they seem, they affect 13% of the world population.

What is SDG’s action plan for achieving the mental health goals?

WHO is working on improving the mental health of individuals as well as society and it aims to achieve these goals by 2030.

  • By spreading awareness and educating people on mental health.
  • Collaborating with the organizations and nations to bring forth the campaigns and programs which work in disseminating the information around mental health and related issues.
  • Acknowledging and destigmatising mental health.
  • To equip communities with responsive mental health, well-being social care services.
  • Bring mental health into the general health care system, making it affordable and accessible for all. Eg including it in government policies etc.

The world is getting more connected every day and we are striving to create a better future and with the help and involvement of everyone, and once we acknowledge our parts in the development in several areas we will be able to create a sustainable future.

References:
https://globalmentalhealthcommission.org/
https://www.who.int/health-topics/mental-health#tab=tab_2