Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed Speech Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina Mohammed watched the art exhibition seriously Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed talked with the permanent ambassador of Nigeria to the United Nations Tijjani Muhammad-Bande Permanent ambassador of Nigeria to the United Nations
Ms. Laura Londen, Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA
Mental health, often forgotten, is becoming a defining issue of our time. Mental health disorders are recognised as a global problem, occasioned by a multiplicity of stressors (e.g., conflict, technology, and the fast pace of modern life) and stigma associated with seeking help for mental health support (in some countries).
Mental health disorders, just like physical health disorders, come in a variety of forms. The World Health Organisation (WHO, 2018) estimates that about 300 million people are affected by depression worldwide, characterised mostly by loss of interest, guilt, low- self-worth, disturbed sleep, tiredness, sadness, etc., and about 23 million people are affected by schizophrenia and other psychoses; more severe and characterised by distortions in sense of self, perception, emotions, language, thinking and behaviour. Mental health and behavioural problems are primary drivers of disability worldwide, with over 40 million 20 – 29-year olds thus disabled (Lozano, 2012). Despite the growing global mental health awareness, many countries and cultures still discriminate against the mentally challenged, with stigmatization that is often transgenerational.
In many parts of the world, individuals with mental health challenges often have to struggle not only with the symptoms of the disorder, but also to exist and function amidst prejudice, discrimination and stigma, which is also sometimes extended to their kin. In conflict and fragile settings, the situation is worse. Trauma and extreme violence often borne by women and girls cause irreparable mental health issues which, when not properly treated, distort the fabric of societies in which they live in.
Therefore, there exists a need to continue to build awareness, share knowledge and encourage governments to build health systems that support mental health and well-being.
It is in this light that the governments of Qatar and Nigeria, together with UNFPA and the NEEM Foundation, wish to host an art exhibition and awareness talk on the issue of mental health.
The evening will feature paintings and photographs illustrating mental health issues in conflict and fragile settings and a talk on the broader issue.