At the recent 65th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) from 21 to 26 May 2012, a new resolution –“Global Burden of Mental Disorders and the Need for a Comprehensive, Coordinated Response from Health and Social Sectors at the Country Level” was adopted by Member States.
The resolution requests the Director General to strengthen advocacy and develop a comprehensive mental health action plan based on an assessment of vulnerability and risks covering services, policies, legislation, plans, strategies and programmes to provide treatment, facilitate recovery and prevent mental disorders, promote mental health and empower persons with mental disorders to live a full and productive life in the community.
Through this resolution countries are also urged to adopt a comprehensive human rights and multisectoral approach to addressing mental health by developing policies and strategies that address the promotion of mental health, prevention of mental disorders, early identification, care, support, treatment and recovery of persons with mental disorders, promote community-based care and deinstitutionalization, improve access to health and social services, education and housing, address poverty and homelessness and create income-generating opportunities, promote human rights, tackle stigma and empower service users, families and communities.
The resolution asks for collaboration of Member States and, as appropriate, international, regional and national nongovernmental organizations, international development partners and technical agency partners in the development of the action plan.
In response to this request, a “background paper” on assessment of risks and vulnerabilities for mental health is being developed by WHO. This assessment of risks and vulnerabilities will serve as the basis of development of mental health action plan. The action plan will be guided furthermore by the existing WHA and Regional Committee resolutions, the mental health gap action plan (mhGAP) and existing regional mental health strategies.
The Regional Office is organizing a consultation from 2 to 4 July 2012 to provide input from Member States, regional nongovernmental organizations and partners, as mandated by the resolution towards development of the mental health action plan.