History was made when the United Nations included Mental Health in the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals for the next 15 years. 25 organizations and counting joined together to make this happen. Today we give thanks and celebrate the power of unity, but our work has only just begun.
As part of the Global Mental Health Movement, Advisory Board Member of FundaMentalSDG, and founder of the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression, I ask you today to join me in requesting the United Nations pass the indicators needed to measure global progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals for Mental Health.
Now more than ever we need your support and your voice to bring these goals to reality. For effective change, it is crucial to set powerful measurable mental health indicators in place to help us, the people, hold countries and their governments accountable to their commitments. Only when progress is measurable can we ensure targets for mental health will be achieved.
Why Should Mental Health be a Policy Priority?
1 in 4 people in the world experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. In most countries of the world, people with mental health problems are not treated, because of stigma, access to care, and lack of mental health systems. Instead, people are often subject to inappropriate treatment and human rights violations. They are often left behind in fear and isolation, and cannot fully participate in society and to the growth of their nation.
As an individual who has personally suffered from the devastating consequences of untreated depression and who experienced the tragic loss of a loved one to suicide; I have walked in these steps, lived this pain, but FORTUNATELY was able to receive access to mental healthcare. It saved my life. Treatment enabled me to live a life of wellness, pursue and obtain my personal goals for success and now be a strong advocate for change. Last year, I had the privilege of sharing my story and speaking to the United Nations as a representative of Fundamental SDG, my non-profit organization iFred, and as a voice for the 600 million with mental disabilities. Having access to mental healthcare made this possible.
Changing these structures is neither difficult nor expensive. But countries need an incentive for change. In the coming weeks, the United Nations will be negotiating the indicators to measure the Sustainable Development Goals. The time to act is now.
Fundamental SDG is a global initiative to strengthen mental health in global development. We propose two indicators to ensure that the Agenda 2030 targets on mental health are achieved. The indicators are fully aligned with the WHO Global Mental Health Action Plan 2015-2030.
Join us and help make this happen. Sign our petition and write your UN representatives asking for inclusion. Ask other mental health, disability, health, human rights, and women’s rights groups to get on board to make this a reality. Your voice and your signature will keep us moving forward.
Kathryn Goetzke, Founder
International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred)