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Mental Health

Mental Health Should Be Recognised As Basic Right: Kerala Chief Minister

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia said mental health is undeniably a universal human right

Mental Health Should Be Recognised As Basic Right: Kerala Chief Minister
This year's theme of the World Mental Health Day is 'Mental Health is a Universal Human Right'

Thiruvananthapuram: World Mental Health Day, observed on October 10 every year, is an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. Taking to X, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said ensuring mental well-being of people irrespective of their socio-cultural background is imperative in a society. He added that mental health should be recognized as a basic right that should be upheld for all. The chief minister wrote on his X timeline,

As the competitive and exploitative nature of capitalism exacerbates the challenges of daily life, tranquility can only be achieved through struggles for a better world.

This year’s theme of the World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental Health is a Universal Human Right’.

The focus of human rights has historically been on needs such as food, shelter, and healthcare. However, mental health stands as a critical pillar for human well-being.

Also Read: World Mental Health Day 2023: “There Is No Health Without Mental Health”, Says Dr Pratima Murthy

According to WHO, recognising that mental health is a universal human right is acknowledging the relationship between mental health and the overall quality of life. Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia said,

Mental health, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is a state of well-being in which an individual realises their abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to their community. It is not merely the absence of mental disorders but a positive state of mental and emotional well-being. This definition aligns with the broader conception of human rights as not only freedoms from harm but freedoms to lead a fulfilling life.

Dr Khetrapal added,

It is also crucial to recognise that mental health intersects with various aspects of life, including education, employment, housing, and social participation. A person’s mental well-being impacts their ability to exercise other rights, such as the right to education and the right to work. When mental health is protected, individuals are better equipped to engage meaningfully in society.

Dr Khetrapal noted discrimination and stigma are major barriers that prevent individuals from seeking help and support. Also, the WHO regional director called for accessible mental health services to all, regardless of socioeconomic status, location, or other circumstances.

In conclusion, she said mental health is undeniably a universal human right. Just as the right to physical health is a fundamental aspect of human dignity, the right to mental health is equally indispensable.

Also Read: World Mental Health Day 2023: Mental Health Is A Universal Human Right

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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