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WHO World Mental Health Report: Transforming Mental Health for All

7 July 2022

On the 17th of June IF attended the launch event of the WHO World Mental Health Report: Transforming Mental Health for All. 

Mental health is a vital aspect of wellbeing for everyone but it is topic which is faces stigma and discrimination, lack of investment and prioritisation by health systems. This is particularly true for persons with disabilities, a problem which youth with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus have been raising awareness of through the activities of IF’s International Youth Group. 

Although the increased attention and awareness of mental health by the World Health Organization (WHO) is welcomed it is unfortunate that disability, particularly from a rights based perspective is not approached more strongly in the report. 

It is important in the discussions concerning mental health and disability to acknowledge that mental health is not only a cause of disability. Persons with disabilities have the same mental health needs as everyone else but have unique challenges in accessing mental health services. In addition, stigma against disability and outdated beliefs of disability, whereby mental health difficulties are perceived to be a natural part of living with a disability, create additional barriers to accessing treatment and understanding. As does lack of understanding of how inaccessibility, discrimination and other barriers to social inclusion do impact the mental health of persons with disabilities. 

To read more about the work of the IF International Youth Group and its recommendations on the topic of mental health. See IF’s Statement on Mental, Physical and Sexual Health for Youth with SBH here