Mental health

Autism spectrum disorders & other developmental disorders

Art work: Vico Cham, 22 years old person with autism, Philippines. Courtesy of Autism Hearts Foundation.

One child in 160 has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Worldwide, people with ASD are often subject to stigma, discrimination and human rights violation, including unjust deprivation of health and education services.

A resolution on “Comprehensive and Coordinated Efforts for the Management of Autism Spectrum Disorders” was adopted by the World Health Assembly during its 67th session in May 2014.

MiNDbank – promoting human rights in mental health reform

People with mental disabilities around the world face discrimination, violence and abuse in all aspects of their lives. Policies, laws and services in many countries reinforce human rights violations or fail to promote human rights. On Human Rights Day - 10 December 2013 - as part of its “QualityRights” initiative, WHO launched MiNDbank. This new online platform brings together key international resources and national policies, strategies, laws and service standards for mental health, substance abuse, general health, disability, human rights and development. MiNDbank will facilitate debate, dialogue, advocacy and research in order to promote national reform in line with international human rights and best practice standards.

Launch of the Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020

Dr Margaret Chan, the WHO Director-General, described the new Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020 as a landmark achievement: it focuses international attention on a long-neglected problem and is firmly rooted in the principles of human rights. The action plan calls for changes. It calls for a change in the attitudes that perpetuate stigma and discrimination that have isolated people since ancient times, and it calls for an expansion of services in order to promote greater efficiency in the use of resources.


World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.

The theme for 2014 is “Living with schizophrenia”. The focus of the World Health Organization will be living a healthy life with schizophrenia.

WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP)

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.

Latest publications

Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020

The action plan recognizes the essential role of mental health in achieving health for all people. It aims to achieve equity through universal health coverage and stresses the importance of prevention.

Integrating the response to mental health disorders and other chronic diseases in health care systems

Strong links exist between mental disorders and other chronic diseases, not only with respect to their causes and consequences, but also in terms of their prevention and management.

Innovation in deinstitutionalization: a WHO expert survey

A WHO expert survey to identify principles and actions for expanding community-based mental health services, and/or to downsize institution-based care.

Social determinants of mental health

This paper highlights effective actions that can be taken to reduce risk of mental disorders throughout the life course, both at the community level and country level.

WHO MIND Project