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World Mental Health Day and tackling inequalities

Ahead of this day of global recognition, the Partnership has helped secure a debate in Parliament focused on this year's theme, 'Mental Health in a Unequal World'

The day and its theme

World Mental Health Day has been established by the World Federation for Mental Health, it provides the opportunity for policy makers, organisations and people across the world to highlight mental health education, awareness-raising and advocacy efforts.

Chosen through a public vote by the Federation, the theme of Mental Health in an Unequal World' emerged as a direct response to the past 18 months. The Covid-19 pandemic has, across all societies, been seen to exacerbate pre-existing inequalities and mental health is no different. The theme was therefore chosen to shine a light on these inequalities, and the factors which perpetuate them.

Highlighting the Scottish context

To create the space to consider what this theme means in the Scottish context, the Partnership successfully supported Paul McLennan MSP (East Lothian) to secure a Members' Business debate on the topic this Thursday. It gained the support of 23 MSPs from all five political parties, securing the cross-party support needed for a such a debate to take place. The motion reads as follows:

That the Parliament notes that 10 October 2021 is World Mental Health Day; welcomes this day of global mental health education, awareness-raising and advocacy; recognises the relevance of this year’s theme, Mental Health in an Unequal World, to Scotland; considers that, based on available data, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities in mental health; understands that this includes those with mental ill health, who, it believes, live on average 20 years less than the wider population, and those living in deprived communities, who are more likely to experience poor mental wellbeing, anxiety and depression, and welcomes the work by organisations across Scotland, including through Scotland’s Mental Health Partnership, to address both the causes and outcomes of these inequalities, in East Lothian and across Scotland.

Alongside briefings our individual members will be providing to this debate, we have sought to help inform it through an analysis of the Scottish Government's Covid Mental Health Trackers. You can find the analysis here, as well as a short summary of what this means and how we need to respond.

It's chief call to MSPs is that, to address these systemic inequalities in mental health, we need a radical refresh of the Mental Health Strategy to deliver the change that's needed fora ll Scots to enjoy better mental health and well-being. We are also calling for the need to mental health-proof policies across different policy areas to be actively considered.

What can you do?

The debate will take place around 12:45, following FMQs, and can be watched here. It would be great if you as an individual or an organisation to potentially highlight that the debate is taking place (using potential hashtags like #worldmentalhealthday #EqualityForMentalHealth #promotepreventprovide #the3Ps), as well as any speeches relevant to their organisation.

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