World Health Day 2023: A Call to Action for Mental Health Equity

CoachHub · 7 April 2023 · 5 min read

The World Health Organisation (WHO) observes World Health Day on April 7 each year to promote awareness of international health challenges and solutions for enhancing health outcomes everywhere. The topic of World Health Day in 2023 will be mental health equity (“Health for All”), highlighting the need for everyone to have access to mental healthcare, regardless of socioeconomic background, ethnicity, or location.

A vital part of physical and mental health is mental wellness. One in four people worldwide may have a mental health issue at some point in their lives, according to the WHO. Individuals, families, and communities are all impacted by mental health issues, which have significant social and economic repercussions.

The notion of “mental health equity” argues that everyone, no matter their circumstance, should have equal access to psychological healthcare. Yet, there are still major access gaps to mental health care between rich and developing nations, and mental health inequality exists on a global scale. In this article, the idea of mental health equity is examined along with its significance and possible remedies, such as the usage of digital coaching.

The Global Mental Health Crisis

People of all ages, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds are impacted by mental health illnesses. According to the WHO, depression is the main cause of disability globally and accounts for 10% of the global burden of disease. Significant distress, impairment, and even death can be brought on by mental health problems. Several medical conditions including diabetes and cardiovascular disease are linked to mental disorders.

Despite the considerable burden that mental illness causes, there are still many areas of the world where access to mental health care is restricted. According to the WHO, compared to 50% in middle-income countries and 35% in high-income countries, up to 75% of individuals with mental health difficulties in low-income countries do not receive any therapy. The gaps in access to care are caused by a paucity of mental health specialists, a lack of financing, and the stigma associated with mental illness.

Inequality in mental health has important repercussions. Social marginalisation, unemployment, and poverty are more common for people with mental health issues. In addition to having an adverse effect on individuals, families, and communities, mental illness also raises healthcare expenses and lowers productivity. About $2.5 trillion was thought to be the global cost of mental illness back in 2010 and that number is expected to balloon to $6 trillion by 2030, with emerging nations carrying a disproportionate share of this cost.

world health day 2023

The Need for Mental Health Equity

No matter their background, everyone should have equitable access to high-quality mental healthcare. This is known as mental health equity. Promoting general health and well-being, lowering stigma, and addressing social and economic inequities all depend on mental health equity.

In order to achieve fairness in mental health, the socioeconomic determinants of health are essential. Mental health outcomes can be impacted by a variety of factors, including poverty, unemployment, housing, and education. Promoting fairness in mental health and enhancing general health outcomes can be accomplished by addressing these determinants through social and economic policies.

Globally, there are several effective programs promoting mental health equity. For instance, the WHO’s Mental Health Gap Action Program (mhGAP) aims to enhance mental health care in low- and middle-income nations. The program offers training for healthcare professionals as well as evidence-based recommendations for the identification and treatment of mental health problems.

 

Solutions for Promoting Mental Health Equity

In order to promote mental health parity, a multidimensional strategy including numerous remedies is necessary. Promoting mental health equity involves many important steps, including expanding access to conventional mental health care, lowering stigma, and fostering social determinants of mental health. Traditional mental health services are crucial, but they are sometimes constrained by a lack of mental health specialists and the stigma associated with mental illness.

Digital coaching is one promising strategy for advancing mental health parity. Digital coaching is the practice of offering assistance and direction for wellness via digital technology, such as computers and smartphones. Compared to traditional mental health services, digital coaching has a number of benefits, including improved self-awareness, accessibility, and stress management.

Digital coaching programs have demonstrated promising results in promoting mental health equity. For example, a study conducted by the WHO found that a mobile app-based intervention was effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety among individuals in low- and middle-income countries. Another study found that a chatbot-based intervention was effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety among college students.

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World Health Day 2023: A Call to Action

The essential need for international action to overcome the inequities in access to mental healthcare is highlighted by World Health Day 2023’s theme, “Health for All.” Individuals, communities, and governments must collaborate to decrease stigma, improve access to care, and advance social and economic policies that support mental health in order to advance mental health fairness.

People can take action by learning about mental health, enlisting the help of professionals when necessary, and lobbying for mental health resources in their neighbourhoods. With community-based initiatives and support services, communities can seek to lessen stigma and promote mental health. By funding mental health services, lowering access obstacles, and addressing the social determinants of mental health, governments can support equity in access to care.

The promotion of mental health equity could be significantly aided by digital coaching. For those who might not have access to conventional mental health treatments, digital coaching can offer accessible and individualised support.

 

Conclusion

A vital aspect of general health and well-being is mental health equity. There is a substantial worldwide burden of mental disease, and many regions of the world still have poor access to mental health services. Increasing access to conventional mental health treatments, lowering stigma, and advocating social and economic policies that support mental health are just a few of the answers needed to advance mental health equity. By offering easily accessible and tailored help, digital coaching has the potential to significantly contribute to the advancement of mental health fairness.

Together, people, communities, employers and politicians can make sure that everyone has access to the resources and care they require to attain optimal mental well-being and that mental health is given the same importance as physical health. This entails funding research, instruction, and training for healthcare professionals in the field of mental health as well as supporting laws that advance equity in mental health. We can build a society where mental health is respected, prioritised, and available to everyone by addressing the underlying causes of gaps in care and striving to eliminate those barriers.

 

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