Oral intervention for High Level Meeting on Universal Healthcare Coverage #UHC 29 April 2019


In 2013, the World Health Organization launched a comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan that recognized a long-neglected problem. It called for an end to discrimination, stigma and lack of services for mental health. A landmark achievement it highlighted prevention, a life long approach, and integrated universal health coverage.

The NGO Committee on Mental Health, a global coalition of academia, private and civil society in consultative status with the UN, supports inclusive health care coverage that incorporates mental health care coverage. There can be no health without mental health, especially for vulnerable people who struggle daily (to function).

High levels of global conflict, violence and migration are producing traumatized populations. Chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease as well as the invisible disabilities of anxiety, depression and stress disorders have been linked to exposure to violence. Children exposed to adverse psychosocial experiences are known to have enduring, emotional, immune and metabolic abnormalities.

The benefit of culturally sensitive, trauma informed, ethical treatment can serve to enhance social justice, sustainable employment and equitable economic growth. SDG targets 3.4 and 3.5 address mental health and substance abuse. Therefore, primary care, integrated with mental health expertise, will ensure that universal healthcare will truly leave no one behind.