October 10 is World Mental Health Day

W orld Mental Health Day 2023 is an opportunity for people and communities to unite behind the theme ‘Mental health is a universal human right." This theme resonates deeply, especially when considering that in places like the United States, 20-25% of the homeless population grapple with some form of severe mental illness. When we speak of "everyone" having the right to the highest attainable standard of mental health, it's crucial to remember that it truly means everyone, from the well-housed to the homeless.

Mental health is a basic human right for all people. Think of the streets of our cities, where many souls wander. Substance abuse, which often co-occurs with mental illness, is seen in about 35% of the homeless population. Everyone, whoever and wherever they are, including these individuals, has a right to be protected from mental health risks. This includes the right to available, accessible, acceptable, and good-quality care, and the right to liberty, independence, and inclusion in the community.

Having a mental health condition should never be a reason to deprive a person of their human rights or exclude them from decisions about their health.

Good mental health is vital to our overall health and well-being. Yet one in eight people globally are living with mental health conditions, which can impact their physical health, their well-being, how they connect with others and their livelihoods. Mental health conditions also affect an increasing number of adolescents and young people. Moreover, many veterans, who represent a significant segment of the homeless population in some areas, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health challenges.

Having a mental health condition should never be a reason to deprive a person of their human rights or exclude them from decisions about their health. Yet worldwide, people with mental health conditions, including those experiencing homelessness due to these challenges, continue to experience many human rights violations. Many are excluded from community life and discriminated against, while many more cannot access the mental health care they need or can only access care that violates their human rights.

As we dwell on these truths, let's also recognize the light of hope. October 10 marks World Mental Health Day, and in honor of this significant date, a free online Church Mental Health Summit will be hosted by Spiritual First Aid, Hope Made Strong, and Biola’s Rosemead School of Psychology/Mental Health in the Church Initiative. The summit's on-demand presentations fall into four comprehensive tracks: Church Health, Community Health, Leadership Health, and Missions & Culture.

Each track boasts a lineup of more than 50 esteemed speakers. Participants will be immersed in a journey where they will be equipped with practical tools, engage with biblically based resources, and learn research-developed strategies to support mental health. The summit's uplifting messages are curated to offer hope and practical resources to educate and hearten those who are pillars in churches and communities.

This beacon of enlightenment will be accessible from 7:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. ET on that Tuesday. For those stirred by this cause, click here for more information or to register.

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