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Governments: World Mental Health Day 2021

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Governments: World Mental Health Day 2021

Action by governments is essential if the right to good mental health is to be exercised  everywhere. In January 2021, mental health commanded its own agenda item in the World Health Organization’s Executive Board Meeting for the first time ever, and in May 2021 the global community agreed to the updated Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan (2021-2030), and agreed a new resolution calling for more support from the WHO to ensure better mental health at country level. 

Since then there have been a range of other developments including the recent Ministerial Summit hosted by the French Government which highlighted the need for access to quality, rights-based mental health and psychosocial support for all. 

But there needs to be more action by governments - supporting the much needed reforms in policies and approaches that will ensure rights-based mental health and psychosocial support for all. 

Below are just a few of the pieces of news we have picked up on what governments and policy makers announced over World Mental Health Day. 

But that cannot be all that happened - tell us what your government has announced by emailing the team at hello@unitedgmh.org. 

To read more about how your country is performing on a range of mental health and psychosocial support indicators click here to look at the Countdown Global Mental Health 2030 interactive dashboard. 

Australia

In Australia, the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said mental health and suicide prevention was one of the Morrison Government’s highest priorities.

“We have embarked on system wide reform to ensure Australia’s mental health system is more compassionate, accessible and affordable,” Minister Hunt said. “To achieve this, we are investing in additional mental health services no matter who you are, what your circumstances or where you live in Australia. This includes $820 million to establish a national network of adult, child and youth mental health treatment centres.”

Operating under a ‘no wrong door approach’, these new services will ensure the delivery of easy to access, high quality, person-centred treatment and support across the mental health care system, in cities, regions and rural areas, providing stigma-free and compassionate care

Canada

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau announced the Government of Canada is working to ensure that mental health is treated as a full and equal part of Canada’s universal public health care system. Additionally he has raised attention to the Wellness Together Canada portal, which was launched last year and is a platform providing free access to live counselling and additional mental health and substance use resources.

France

In September 2021, President Macron announced prescribed consultations with a psychologist will be fully reimbursed, starting from the age of 3. To strengthen mental health services, France will create 800 additional job vacancies at mental health centres. Furthermore, 80 million euros will be contributed to mental health research. This was further emphasised at the French ministerial mental health summit held in October just ahead of World Mental Health Day.

Japan

As part of the Wold Mental Health Day 2021, Japan has held several events to increase awareness for mental health. 

On WMHD 2021, the Tokyo Tower was lit up in silver to ask attention for mental health. This “World Mental Health Day Silver Light Up” has been held since 2020. Additionally, they developed a webpage for WMHD 2021, where they hosted several debates concerning mental health. As host of the Summer Olympics in 2021, their WMHD had a particular focus for mental health in the sports scene. Dialogues were held by several athletes and people working in sports, while inviting athletes of the national team and directors of national sports associations, such as the Japanese Football Association and Volleyball Association. Furthermore, this online platform provides additional information and resources concerning mental health.

Malaysia

In Malaysia mental health support will soon be made available via the MySejahtera app, as part of the government's efforts to make its facilities and services more accessible to the people.Announcing this, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said it was important that more investment in mental health was made, not only to address the stigma attached to it, but also improving accessibility for those in need of treatment or support.

He added: "Good mental health is as important as maintaining physical health. No one should be left behind in seeking support and treatment. We must look after each other."

Somalia

Somalia has particularly been impacted by mental health challenges owing to decades of protracted conflict, which has severely disrupted social cohesion, broken down social norms and led to nearly one in every three Somalis suffering from some form of mental health condition. In response, the Federal Government of Somalia and United Nations (UN) in Somalia joined forces to scale up quality mental health services at all levels in the country. 

HE. Dr Fawziya Abikar Nur, the Minister of Health and Human Services of Somalia, said: “We all have a role to play in supporting one another as a society and to make mental health a reality in Somalia."

United Arab Emirates

In the UAE, Emirates Health Services (EHS) has launched an innovative initiative to develop distinguished community mental health services, creating a network of community mental health clinics in primary health care centres.

In addition to providing comprehensive psychological services near the patient’s residence, the network of clinics will deliver training courses to workers in community psychological services as well as home psychological care teams and will educate patients and their families through specialised programmes, to integrate them into society and empower them socially, psychologically and professionally.

A new social media campaign has been launched to raise awareness about Covid-19's toll on mental health and well-being, particularly among frontline workers, such as doctors, nurses and teachers. The National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) rolled out the campaign on World Mental Health Day, which is observed annually on October 10. The campaign includes pre-recorded interviews with directors of the medical, psychological and social treatment units and sectors in the centre.

United States of America

Earlier this week MTV Entertainment Group, along with 18 leading mental health non-profits, announced that they will be hosting the first convening to empower young people to drive culture from awareness to action on mental health through storytelling and media.

Senior officials from the Biden-Harris Administration, including from the Department of Health and Human Services, are expected to speak during the Forum in early 2022. Following this, participants will be invited to present their ideas at a White House event to a diverse audience of media and technology professionals, government officials, and non-profit executives to help inform future creative public health campaigns related to mental health.