September 2017 \ News \ MIND AND BODY
Beginning of end or End of beginning

Almost three years ago on taking up the Presidency of the World Psychiatric Association, representing over 2.5 lakh psychiatrists around the world, we set on a journey together to raise the profile of some themes related to mental health of underserved populations but also focusing on mental health of women facing interpersonal violence,

By Dinesh Bhugra

September 4 of each year has been identified as ‘World Mind Matters Day’. In 2015, the WPA launched statements on migrant mental health. This had major implications as globally there are several million migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The ‘Second World Mind Matters Day in 2016’ focused on our findings from a global survey. Looking at the legal system across 193 member states of the United Nations we studied discrimination against persons with mental illness in four areas: political, social, economic and personal in the laws of each country. The levels of discrimination remain frighteningly high across the globe. Nearly one third of the countries do not allow people with mental illness to get married. Fewer countries provide supported employment or right to vote. As a result of these findings, the WPA produced a Bill of Rights. Over 60 organizations around the globe have signed up their support for this. This Bill of Rights was launched in the House of Lords in London in October 2016. The logo of Blue Butterfly is the campaign symbol for Social Justice for People with Mental Illness3. A special issue of the International Review of Psychiatry4 has published these findings in details along with examples of minimum standards of service as well as examples of good clinical practice. As examples of learning a series of Round Table events were held on migration, on violent radicalisation and early interventions in psychiatry. Prevention is always better than cure. A series of WPA Position Statements on migration, training of psychiatrists, post-natal mental health, homelessness, high quality training in psychiatry, on five reasons to be a psychiatrist, on gender identity and same-sex orientation, attraction and behaviours, on environmental sustainability, on recruitment in psychiatry, on suicide prevention, on preventive psychiatry, and on spirituality and religion in psychiatry have been launched and all of these can be accessed on the WPA web site. On International Children’s Day in 2016, WPA launched a Bill of Rights for Children and Young People. On International Women’s Day in 2017, WPA launched a position statement on perinatal mental health.