World Health Assembly—Mental Health
Last week we were at the 65th World Health Assembly (WHA), the large annual event organized by the World Health Organization (WHO). The highlight on 22 May was listening to the interventions (statements) about the Resolution on mental health (EB130.Rb): The Global Burden of Mental Disorders and the Need for a Comprehensive, Coordinated Response from Health and Social Sectors at the Country Level..
Over 30 member states (countries) made statements about this four-page Resolution over a two-hour period, overwhelmingly supporting it. In the process many also described improvements they are making in their own national MH policies and programs. One noteworthy intervention was Thailand standing firm on its request to include the terms “family” and “community” in the Resolution. This request was accepted. Five civil society organizations also made statements including the World Federation for Mental Health. The Resolution unanimously passed.
For some perspective, this Resolution was a long time coming. Three member states initiated this Resolution in December last year (Switzerland, USA, India). To see the Mental Health Report (six pages) that the Resolution was based on, click here..
Civil society in general supported it but did not initiate it. And now so many member states themselves collectively have moved forward with it. It was a breath of fresh air after so many people/organizations/WHO Mental Health's long hard work over the years to see mental health mainstreamed and integrated more into the global health agenda..
The next step is the action plan and implementation, no small matter of course. Resolutions are never enough. They are like a summons to point member states, WHO, civil society, and industry towards accountable action. This Resolution thus also applies to the mission/aid community. It gives a further recognized platform—and mandate--for pursuing “mental health as mission” as a core part of the work of mission/aid. Will we pursue it? For more thoughts, see the entries towards the end of 2011 on Global Integration.
Reflection and Discussion
**Describe a few applications for MC based on the items/commentary above.