#WMHD2015 Blog Series: What does "dignity in mental health" mean to you?

Every year, on October 10th, the global community comes together to celebrate World Mental Health Day. Started in 1992 as an annual activity for the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), it has become one of the most recognized education and advocacy initiatives globally.1 The overall objective is to raise awareness around mental health issues and advocate for greater support for mental health. This day provides the perfect opportunity for stakeholders and supporters to share their perspectives and experiences, and to advocate for better care and services for people with mental health problems and their families.

This year, the WFMH has chosen the theme “Dignity in Mental Health” with the aim being “to show the ways in which dignity can be provided in all aspects of mental health, ranging from care for patients/consumers to the attitudes of the general public”.2 Given that there are still many people with mental illness subjected to human rights violations, inhumane and degrading treatment, and are stigmatised and marginalised because of their illness and experiences, globally, the MHIN team could not agree more with the importance of marking this year’s World Mental Health Day with this theme.

How do we define dignity?

The MHIN team also supports WFMH’s social media campaign on trying to understand what dignity in mental health means to people. After all, dignity is a fairly complex concept, one that has many meanings and interpretations and although we may know exactly what it is when we see it (or an absence of it), a precise all-encompassing definition rarely exists. Instead of attempting to define dignity ourselves, we decided to open it up to the Global Mental Health community by asking what dignity meant to you, especially in the following related areas of mental health:

  • mental health services
  • peer support groups
  • human rights and ethics
  • service user advocacy

Overwhelming response to our call for blogs

Since our call for entries, we have received an overwhelming number of responses answering what dignity means. This also validated our thoughts that there are indeed many ways of defining dignity. We’re really excited to share these thoughts with you and like last year’s month long World Mental Health Day blog series, we will be posting engaging responses from a diverse range of individuals who chose to share their perspectives on what dignity means to them.

Join the World Mental Health Day conversation

If you didn’t have a chance to submit a response but are keen to get involved, we encourage you to join the conversation in the comments section of the World Mental Health Day entries in the MHIN blog and through our social media channels (Facebook: /mhinnovation Twitter: @mhinnovation) using the hashtags #WMHDay and #WMHD2015.

References

  1. World Federation for Mental Health WMHD 2015: Dignity in Mental Health
  2. World Federation for Mental Health campaign materials 2015

Related MHIN World Mental Health Day Events:

Resources


Images courtesy of Valentina Iemmi. Copyright © 2015 Valentina Iemmi. All rights reserved.

Approach: 
Human rights
Empowerment and service user involvement
Advocacy
Disorder: 
All disorders
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