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    Mental Health and the UN

    By Sammy Witt

    Mental Health is a popular topic among the progressive, post-structuralist left. These people are the ones often times dominating the feminist discourse in the West; this is also true for some parts of the UN. Many of the representatives from other feminist NGOs like talking about how significant the discussion surrounding mental health is. And they’re right! It is a fact, that one in four people will have to deal with mental illness in their life.

    So it should be obvious that this is an epidemic that all of us have to tackle, especially in our day to day lives. Chances are that you, like me, know many who are affected by mental health struggles. Perhaps you yourself have struggled with mental health issues? “But what is the UN doing?” you ask. There are, as all attentive blog readers will know, the Sustainable Development Goals.

    The SDGs are what all current UN goals are modeled around. Sustainable Development Goal 3, Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, is the goal this topic is included in. But the only indicator regarding mental health is reducing the worldwide suicide rate. In 2012, 800,000 people killed themselves. Has this number dropped yet? No.

    There is only one psychiatrist per 100,000 people in over half the countries in the world, and 40% of countries have less than one hospital bed reserved for mental disorders per 10,000 people. That is definitely not enough. The Member States representatives need to start listening to the NGOs and finally focus on mental health! The General Assembly needs to come up with an agreement to tackle mental illness and the Member States need to agree to provide funding. That is the only way for the UN to really tackle these issues in an impactful way. We must demand that legislators get aware, but we also mustn’t forget to spread the discussion and awareness in our personal lives.





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