World Federation for Mental Health
World Federation for Mental Health

The World Federation for Mental Health envisions a world in which mental health is a priority for all people. Public policies and programs reflect the crucial importance of mental health in the lives of individuals.

President of India inaugurates 21st World Congress of mental health, calls for fighting stigma

Beautiful India

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the 21st World Congress of Mental Health being organised by the World Federation for Mental Health in partnership with Caring Foundation and other institutions in New Delhi today (November 2, 2017). Speaking on the occasion, the President said that the World Congress of Mental Health is taking place in India for the first time. And it has come here at an appropriate moment. Mental health issues are acquiring a serious magnitude in our country. Our National Mental Health Survey 2016 found that close to 14 per cent of India’s population required active mental health interventions.


The President noted that those living in metropolitan cities and those who are young – whether in the productive age group, or children and teenagers – are most vulnerable to mental illnesses. In India, we have a young population, with 65 per cent of our people below the age of 35. And our society is rapidly urbanising. This leaves us staring at a possible mental health epidemic.


The President said that the biggest obstacle that mental health patients have to encounter is stigma and denial. This leads to the issue being ignored or simply not discussed. We need to talk about mental health issues and treat ailments such as depression and stress as diseases that can be cured – not as guilty secrets that must be pushed under the carpet. A major gap in combating the mental health challenge is that of human resources. India is a country with 1.25 billion people but just 700,000 doctors – less than one million. In the field of mental health, the scarcity is even more acute. There are only about 5,000 psychiatrists and less than 2,000 clinical psychologists in our country.


The President said that India’s National Mental Health Programme is building 22 centres of excellence in the field of mental health. In parallel, the District Mental Health Programme has already covered 517 of the approximately 650 districts in India. It is taking the conversation about mental health to the grassroots of our society.


The President expressed happiness that the World Congress will have sessions on yoga, meditation and traditional approaches to mental health. He stated that the example of yoga is very instructive. When people talk about yoga, they generally refer to its physiological benefits. However, the mental, psychological, and cognitive benefits of yoga are equally worthy of our study. He looked forward to feedback on the deliberations of the special session planned on the role of yoga in battling anxiety and depression – and in preventing the onset of mental health problems.

Visionary Report on Mental Health

June 6, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health presents his visionary report on mental health to countries at the Human Rights Council (report available in several languages here).


The report provides an important framework and road map for mental health that responds to people’s needs, respects their rights and ensures that the dignity of every person is respected. 


The World Health Organization is committed to responding to the report’s call for Member States to seek technical assistance from the WHO QualityRights initiative in order to promote access to good quality mental health and related services and respect for the rights of persons with psychosocial, intellectual and cognitive disabilities.

This WMHD infographic can be downloaded!  

There is still time to sign the Mentally Healthy Workplace Pledge!!

Promoting mental wellness at work

Six in 10 of employees who say they have depression hide the condition from their employers, a survey by Silver Ribbon Singapore (SRS) shows.

Reasons include fear of putting jobs at risk (23.4 per cent) and feeling employers would not understand (12.8 per cent).

Dr Lee Cheng, president of SRS, a non-profit mental health advocacy organisation, said at the Silver Ribbon Workplace Emotional Health and Wellness Summit yesterday: "There is still a stigma in society and some degree of self-stigmatisation."

The stigmais amplified by the mental health query found on most job application forms, he told The New Paper.

World Mental Health Day 2017


Mental Health in the Workplace

October 10, 2017

Packet Now Available and in Hindi too!!


Companies/organizations in 58 different countries have signed the Mentally Healthy Workplace Pledge.

Take your Mentally Healthy Workplace Pledge

WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP)

Mental, neurological, and substance use disorders are common in all regions of the world, affecting every community and age group across all income countries. While 14% of the global burden of disease is attributed to these disorders, most of the people affected - 75% in many low-income countries - do not have access to the treatment they need.


The WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) aims at scaling up services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders for countries especially with low- and middle-income. The programme asserts that with proper care, psychosocial assistance and medication, tens of millions could be treated for depression, schizophrenia, and epilepsy, prevented from suicide and begin to lead normal lives– even where resources are scarce.


The link below will also take you to resources, reports and the mhGAP newsletter. The information is to help reduce the mental health treatment gap.

World Federation for Mental Health Statement

for the WHO 70th World Health Assembly

with reference to Agenda Item 13.7: Promoting the health of refugees and migrants



The World Health Organization’s recent shift in approach to the health care of refugees and migrants from humanitarian-based care to an approach based on broader health systems offers an opportunity to integrate mental health care into services.


Given the magnitude of the crisis caused by forced displacement, emergency care and health systems-based care will both be needed.  The World Federation for Mental Health supports efforts to integrate mental health care in overall health care wherever possible. 


Special attention should be paid to those vulnerable people who had a serious mental illness before a regional crisis took place.  Their special needs are often neglected if they become refugees or displaced persons—but given the proportion of people with mental health conditions in general populations, the proportion must also be high among refugees and displaced persons.   The numbers will be made higher by the displacement experience.


The situation of migrants in the Middle East, in southern Europe and in Africa presents an enormous challenge.  Despite the many priorities in providing care, and the constraints required by budgets, mental health care should be included in assistance.


Planning should take account of the health of women, adolescents, children and the elderly. Many of them have experienced violence in crisis situations.  Children in particular may be exposed to a lifetime of mental health consequences. 

The Report of the High-Level Working Group on the Health and Human Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents, newly released by the World Health Organization and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, emphasizes a goal of achieving the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health for marginalized people such as migrants and refugees.

Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action

The final version of the new Charter on the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action is available on the Internet:


The Charter was drawn up by some 70 organizations and agencies before the UN’s first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul (23/24 May 2016), to draw attention to the need to include people with disabilities in responses to humanitarian emergencies.  Their special requirements are often overlooked.


The Charter asks providers of humanitarian assistance in emergencies to be fully inclusive of people with disabilities in their policies, planning and services.  They should alert their staff members to the diverse needs of persons with disabilities, and include them or their organizations’ representatives in decision-making and planning.


The Charter is not a legally binding document and does not affect current obligations, but it is an important new statement of principles.  Its website includes an easy way for governments and organizations to endorse its provisions.

World Federation for Mental Health

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Occoquan, VA 22125 USA