Citizens In Action Southern Africa (CIASA) joins the rest of the world to commemorate world mental health day which seeks to focus on ensuring mental health and wellbeing so that it becomes a global priority for all. The day calls for committing to acknowledge the importance of mental health, be more open and accepting about it and prioritize availability of and access to care and treatment.
Mental health problems exist in families, workplaces and communities impacting everyone. World Mental Health Day is a chance to talk about mental health in general, how to look after it and how important it is to talk about things and get help if one is struggling. Recently, rates of people experiencing suicidal ideas and committing suicide are increasing globally and people with lived experiences of mental health, their families and other populations to continue to say their mental health well-being is not always at the forefront of governments, those who pay for services or society at large. The 2022 World Mental Health Day theme “Make mental health and well-being for all a global priority” provides people with an opportunity to re-kindle efforts to make the world a better place.
On this day, CIASA calls on African governments to intensify action to achieve access for all to quality mental health care. Governments should also ensure that all people can access quality mental health care, close to where they live, without financial hardship. Countries should build on accelerating longstanding efforts to implement equitable mental health policies, laws, programs and services. Mental health services should be reoriented with a focus on expanding the specialized and non-specialized mental health workforce. Civil Society Organizations and partners should establish evidence based and rights-oriented community mental health networks and increasing collaboration with affected populations. Governments should also strengthen national and subnational programs to address suicide and self-harm, as well as drug and alcohol abuse. CIASA also recommends governments and civil society to combat mental health related stigma and discrimination, protecting and promoting human rights. The call is on national and local governments to prioritize reducing the factors known to pose a risk to people’s mental health, enhancing those known to protect it and creating the conditions needed for people to thrive.