There are several reasons why the UN need to include a mental health target in the Sustainable Development Goals. Mental health has for too long been a low priority in development. Psychosocial disabilities are increasingly recognized as resulting in individual social exclusion, and being an important factor frustrating the aspirations of families, communities and emerging economies. According to the World Report on Disability, 1 billion people worldwide experience a disabling condition. The WHO estimates that 1 in 4 people will experience an episode of mental disorders or psychosocial disabilities in their lifetime, and that approximately 600 million people worldwide are disabled as a consequence. Most (85%) of these people are in Low and Middle Income Countries. Psychosocial disability is one of the most pressing development issues of our time. Poverty and hunger, conflict and trauma, poor access to health and social care, and social inequity are significant risk factors, increasing vulnerability to persons with psychosocial disabilities in low and middle income country contexts.
It is also a question of gobal emergency: There is documented evidence from all regions of the world that people with psychosocial disabilities experience most severe human rights violations, including being tied to beds, kept in isolation in psychiatric institutions, being chained and caged in small cells, and being physically abused by ‘traditional’ healing practices. This failure of humanity is a global emergency and requires immediate and sustained action. Human rights violations are linked to discrimination and stigma towards people with mental disorders and psychosocial disabilities. Change requires a focus on human rights and stigma reduction and a change in attitudes and beliefs.
This change can be strongly enhanced by including mental health in the new Post2015 development agenda.