The Time to Act Is Now; Help Create a Global Movement for Mental Health

By Kathryn Goetzke

Psychosocial disability is one of the more pressing development issues of our time, yet for too long it’s been a low priority.


  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one in four people will experience an episode of mental illness in their lifetime, and approximately 600 million people worldwide are disabled as a result
  • Mental and behavioral disorders account for 7.4% of the global burden of disease measured using Daily Adjusted Life Years (DALYs)
  • Men and women in high income countries living with a mental health condition die 15 to 20 years earlier than those who do not
  • Individuals with psychosocial disabilities in low and middle income countries are more vulnerable to poverty, hunger, conflict, trauma, and poor access to health and social care
  • People living with psychosocial disability experience severe human rights violations including being
    • tied to beds
    • kept in isolation in psychiatric institutions
    • chained and caged in small cells, and
    • abused by “traditional” healing practices

Positive mental health is related to many aspects of human health and development. In addition to being critical to achieving success in addressing issues of poverty and economic development, direct links between positive mental health and successful outcomes in primary education, gender equality, child mortality, and maternal health have been established.

In other words, mental health is related to almost all of the United Nations’ (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDG) established in 2000 and committed to by all UN member states plus 23 additional international organizations. Unfortunately, time is coming to a close for the MDG 2015 deadline and much work still needs to be done in the area of mental health.

While the UN has a global vision of prosperity, equity, freedom, dignity, and peace, nowhere in its MDGs does it address the health of our most important and vital organ that creates this peaceful world: the brain. That is precisely why we need to work together on a global movement for change.

It is time for us to put differences aside and work together on this local, regional, national, and global goal, because the UN is now looking to frame its post-2015 development agenda. The decisions made for this agenda impact all of us. Now is the time for us in the mental health field to pull together and be a driving force for change in the centuries to come.

iFred signed on in support of  #FundaMentalSDG, a global movement, to join forces with other NGOs and mental health advocates to ask for specific, achievable, measurable mental health goals to be added to the Post Millennium Development Goals (PMDG).  iFred believes there can be no health for our planet without mental health.  Every mental health organization and agency, as well as individuals, should advocate for this inclusive language in what will be one of the largest strategic plans for our planet. Our global mental health is at stake.

Showing support for #FundaMentalSDG won’t cost a thing and takes a minimal amount of effort.

Help us create a global movement to create real, impactful change for brain health by doing the following:

  • Send a letter on your organization’s letterhead to your UN representative in support of this initiative. Special emphasis is placed on the United States, Ireland, and Kenya, as they are key players in the UN negotiations. A template and list of country contacts can be found at
  • Include your organization’s logo on the FundaMentalSDG website in support of this effort. Our list of supporters grows by the day, and we need yours
  • Like the Facebook page, share with friends and family
  • Tweet. Encourage others to tweet. Retweet: “We must include mental health in United Nations Post Millennium Development Goals. There is no #health without #mentalhealth @FundamentalSDG @UN #FundaMentalSDG”
  • Take the PMDG survey, and under ‘Suggest A Priority”’ ask them to add mental health to the overall health goals, via FundamentalSDG recommendations

As Congressman Patrick Kennedy said, “Until a cause becomes a (social) movement, authentic, even transformational change, will not occur. The 60s gave us the Civil Rights Movement, the 90s the Aids Movement.” Let us make mental health the 21st Century Movement.

Join FundamentalSDG in creating a global movement for mental health. We think it could be the single most important thing we do this year for global mental health, impacting us in ways we never imagined for centuries to come.


  • What are you doing to support #FundaMentalSDG?
  • Why is this movement important to you?

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