What does 2023 hold for mental health? The latest Global Mental Health Advocacy Roadmap
By Sarah Kline, CEO and Co-Founder, UnitedGMH
2023 will be an unprecedented year of challenges and opportunities for mental health. Our newly updated Global Mental Health Advocacy Roadmap provides all the details but here is a brief summary.
Growth in demand for mental health services and support. Many countries are experiencing significant economic pressures due to a combination of factors, and this means the very poorest in society are likely to fall further behind economically. The future of mental health services will likely be under threat at the very moment that growing poverty increases instances of mental ill health.
A make-or-break moment for mental health integration. The UN High-Level Meeting on UHC could redress the balance between physical and mental health in terms of political prioritisation, reforms and funding. Coming at a time of intense scrutiny of health systems in light of COVID-19 this is a particularly crucial moment for mental health. This year’s allocation of Global Fund support could finance a substantial increase in mental health support for people at risk or living with HIV/AIDS or TB.
Accelerating action on child, youth and caregiver mental health. Women Deliver and the PMNCH Global Forum for Adolescents both take place this year with commitments to fully integrate mental health into the programming and discussions. The SDG Summit in 2023 and the Summit of the Future in 2024 will be moments where the world needs to agree on the best means to accelerate progress to improve the lives of the next generation: mental health support must be part of the agenda for both.
A historic first for mental health at the UN. Following the discussion at the UN Security Council on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, the Mexican government organised a Call to Action for signature by member states. This could lead to a UN Resolution on Mental Health: a significant opportunity to advance political support for mental health at the highest levels, and the first of its kind. Meanwhile, at a regional level, the European Commission is scheduled to launch a new mental health initiative in 2023.
It is impossible to ignore mental health in tackling climate change. The IPCC, WHO and many others published evidence in 2022 of the links between mental health and climate change. In 2023 we need to turn that into action: at COP and in many other fora.
Legislative reform can lead to substantial change. Pakistan and Nigeria have passed on new mental health laws in recent weeks; Pakistan and Guyana have decriminalised suicide and more countries are looking to do the same. 2023 could be the year when legislative reform truly leads to greater support for upholding human rights.
UnitedGMH remains committed to supporting partners to achieve progress in all these areas. The Global Mental Health Advocacy Roadmap shows at least some of the key things the mental health community is trying to achieve this year. Each of us has a crucial part to play. Joining the Global Mental Health Action Network – now with over 2300 members from 130 countries – is one way to collaborate with others to achieve change.
Download our 2023-2024 Advocacy Roadmap now