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. Worldwide, people with ASDs 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 management of autism spectrum disorders was adopted by the Executive Board of the World Health Assembly in 2013 and is due to be discussed at the World Health Assembly in May.

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

Every year on 10th of October, The World Health Organization joins in celebrating the World Mental Health Day. The day is celebrated at the initiative of the World Federation of Mental Health and WHO supports this initiative through raising awareness on mental health issues.

The theme of the day in 2013 was “Mental health and older adults”.

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.

Investing in mental health

What governments and other stakeholders can do to reshape social attitudes and public policy around mental health.

Building back better

Emergencies, in spite of their tragic nature, are opportunities to build better mental health systems for all people in need.

WHO MIND Project