World Mental Health Day: A Universal Human Right


World Mental Health Day is an international day celebrated annually on October 10th. It’s a day dedicated to global mental health education, awareness, and advocacy against social stigma. The event was first celebrated in 1992, initiated by the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in over 150 countries.

Theme of 2023: Mental Health is a Universal Human Right

The theme for World Mental Health Day 2023 is ‘Mental health is a universal basic human right’. This theme emphasizes that everyone, regardless of who they are or where they are, has a right to the highest attainable standard of mental health. This includes the right to be protected from mental health risks, the right to available, accessible, acceptable, and good quality care, and the right to liberty, independence and inclusion in the community.

The Importance of Mental Health

Good mental health is vital to our overall health and well-being. Yet one in eight people globally are living with mental health conditions, which can impact their physical health, their well-being, how they connect with others, and their livelihoods. Mental health conditions are also affecting an increasing number of adolescents and young people.

Having a mental health condition should never be a reason to deprive a person of their human rights or to exclude them from decisions about their own health. Yet all over the world, people with mental health conditions continue to experience a wide range of human rights violations. Many are excluded from community life and discriminated against, while many more cannot access the mental health care they need or can only access care that violates their human rights.

The Role of World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide. It’s an opportunity for people and communities to unite behind the theme ‘Mental health is a universal human right” to improve knowledge, raise awareness and drive actions that promote and protect everyone’s mental health as a universal human right.

The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to work with its partners to ensure mental health is valued, promoted, and protected, and that urgent action is taken so that everyone can exercise their human rights and access the quality mental health care they need.


World Mental Health Day serves as a reminder that mental health is just as important as physical health. It’s a day for us all to step back and consider how we can support those around us who may be struggling. Whether it’s reaching out to a friend or family member, advocating for mental health reform in your community, or taking time for your own self-care – every action matters. Let’s join together this World Mental Health Day to break down barriers, end stigma, and make mental health care a reality for all.

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