The NGO Committee on Mental Health is strongly committed to raising public consciousness regarding the importance of mental health as a priority issue; promoting psychosocial well-being, the improvement of mental health care services, advocacy and education in the prevention of mental illness, and advocating for all individuals to have the right to realize their full potential for optimal functioning, both physically and mentally. The Committee works with the United Nations, and its specialized agencies, to ensure the inclusion of mental health issues within a broader context of concerns such as vulnerable populations, human rights, poverty, violence, the environment, peace and well-being.
Under the auspices of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organization (CONGO) in Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Committee on Mental Health engages in activities that promote, educate, facilitate and support actions in the international arena and within the scope of the United Nations interests and responsibilities. The following Mental Health Working Groups meet regularly to implement this mission:
CHILDREN, YOUTH AND MENTAL HEALTH
The Working Group on Children, Youth and Mental Health is committed to promoting the development and emotional well-being of young people by educating UN agencies, governments, NGOs and civil society about social and economic issues relevant to children, and advocating for the inclusion of children in decisions regarding their lives.
REFUGEES, IMMIGRANTS AND MENTAL HEALTH
The Working Group on Refugees, Immigrants and Mental Health addresses the psychological, social and economic impact on people who have been internally or externally displaced from their homelands as a result of war, rebellion, poverty and oppression. Attention is given to the experiences that caused them to flee from their countries of origin, conditions in settlement camps and interim locations, as well as stresses related to adjustment to lands foreign to them.
RACISM, RELATED INTOLERANCES AND MENTAL HEALTH
The Working Group on Racism, Related Intolerances and Mental Health focuses on promoting the integration of mental health perspectives into the implementation of the Durban Programme of Action (the outcome report of the World Conference Against Racism), the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and related human rights instruments. The group's activities call attention to the impact of racism, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances upon mental health within varying local, regional and international social contexts. Members of the group have diverse interests, including advocacy, practice, and the delivery of mental health services, research, education and policy.
TRAUMA AND MENTAL HEALTH
The Working Group on Trauma and Mental Health is committed to addressing the concerns of people who have experienced traumatic events, including human-made or natural disasters as well as trauma sustained during mass migration, discrimination based upon identity and bullying of children and adults. Attention is given to educating and advocating with UN constituencies concerning the psychological distress caused by such experiences and the necessity of providing appropriate interventions and promoting reconciliation.
MEDIA/INFORMATION, COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES (ICT) AND MENTAL HEALTH
The Working Group on Media/Information, Communication Technologies and Mental Health is committed to promoting access and utilization to both traditional media and newer information and communication technologies (ICT) globally, for the purpose of fostering mental health and psychological resilience, and advocating for the prevention and treatment of mental illness.
Mary Lee Kortes
GLOBAL MENTAL HEALTH AND NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES (NCDS)
The Working Group on Global Mental Health and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) advocates for the development and integration of mental health information and services into global health policies and programs pertaining to NCDs. Attention is focused on mental health as a cross cutting issue affecting NCDs, including as a risk factor for and consequence of NCDs.
HUMAN RIGHTS AND MENTAL HEALTH
The Working Group on Human Rights and Mental Health advocates for mental health and well-being in policy and planning at the UN. We promote attention to self-determination and self-representation of people suffering from discrimination due to psychiatric and/or emotional disabilities in every part of the world.
GENDER PERSPECTIVES AND MENTAL HEALTH
The Working Group on Gender Perspectives and Mental Health injects a gender perspective in mental health advocacy at the United Nations. We encourage the development and implementation of gender-sensitive mental health policies and programs. We also educate about the importance of improving the overall social status of women since women's well-being and mental health are affected by social inequalities and vulnerability to economic dependence, violence, and oppression.