World Mental Health Day is about raising awareness of and driving positive change for everyone’s mental health.
But ‘everyone’ neglects, albeit inadvertently, the unique challenges that anyone can face when it comes to their mental health.
As such, we thought this year’s blog post supporting World Mental Health Day could give a voice to individual members of our Tribe. They were asked why they think mental health is or should be a universal human right, following the 2023 theme.
“Mental health is not linear—we all have good days and bad days, healthy days (where we ‘Thrive’) and days where we need support. Some people suffer with mental health conditions which impact their ability to cope and increase how much support they need, but ultimately everyone has fluctuating mental health in the same way we all have fluctuating physical health.
“Recognising mental health as a human right would go towards recognising the universality of mental health, and the spectrum of ‘health’ that we all experience. Once we recognise that, we can start to consider what we can do to make it better and support those who may be struggling.”
“Mental health is not something we can simply ignore or treat as a luxury. It affects every aspect of our lives, from our relationships and our ability to work, to how we act in our society. We have the right to access medical care when we’re physically unwell, so this needs to be mirrored when we are dealing with any mental health issues.
“Although, as a society, we do seem to talk about mental health more, there is still a stigma surrounding it, especially when it comes to openly discussing mental health conditions and people ending (or attempting to end) their own lives. Many people still hesitate to seek help or talk openly about their mental health due to fear of judgment.
“By acknowledging it as a fundamental right, we send a powerful message that mental health is as important as physical health, encouraging more open conversations, and ultimately improving understanding.
“Mental health is not a choice. Most people will experience some form of fluctuation with their mental health, so having the right support there not only when it is needed, but also as a preventative measure, is a no-brainer.”
“Mental health is personal to everyone. We all have different levels of mental health; some start from a stronger foundation than others, but we all have times where it fluctuates. For some people, those fluctuations can have a devastating effect on their lives and wellbeing.
“We don’t talk enough about mental health, and people find it hard to relate to others with different experiences. We’ve all had colds, backaches, headaches, sickness bugs, etc, so we feel that it’s okay to be physically ill—we even share ‘war stories’ about how ill we were! But until we create a better understanding and acceptance of mental health challenges, and until we encourage more open dialogue about it, it’s still not going to be okay to not be okay.
“And that needs to change if we’re going to make mental health as important in society as physical health.”
“Mental health is just as important as physical health. It affects us all, whether we realise or not, which is why it needs to be a universal right.
“When people hear ‘mental health’ they assume it is negative because of the stigma that we as a society have created.
“If we think of mental health as a state of mind then we will realise it can be affected by our physical health and social and personal circumstances. Mental health does not necessarily have to be ill health.
“In the UK, the NHS is increasingly using ‘social prescribing’ to help improve mental health without necessarily relying on drugs and it is changing lives.
“If we all changed our perspective about what mental health is, we can support each other.”
“Our wellbeing extends beyond just physical health. Mental health shapes our ability to lead fulfilling lives and is fundamental to the pursuit of happiness, productivity and meaningful connections. Every person deserves the opportunity to thrive emotionally, free from stigma and discrimination.
“For me, I prioritise maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This balance allows me to navigate challenges with resilience, appreciate life’s simple joys, and continue to grow as an individual.”
“I believe mental health should be a universal human right because our minds are as susceptible to pain and trauma as our bodies. They need time to heal and repair just as much as a broken leg.
“Recognising mental health in this way and giving it parity with physical health would mean anyone who is going through a difficult time, whether due to a bereavement, a long-held condition or anything else, would at least be able to expect the same kind of patience and understanding.
“I am currently helping to draft proposed new legislation as part of a Parliamentary committee that aims to gain parity between mental and physical health in the workplace. It is my hope that this will soon be achieved.”
“Mental health should be a universal human right, but I do not think it is there yet. Too often our low moods are dismissed as the result of ‘swings’, as if they will return to ‘normal’ in the course of time. Likewise, I have lost count of the number of times that my family, friends and colleagues have kept quiet about their struggles with mental health through fear of misunderstanding, judgment—even ridicule.
“Until we can talk openly about mental health without consequences, mental health will be second to physical health, which is not yet a fully realised ‘universal’ human right, either.
“The progress being made, however, is positive. Talking about mental health as much as possible, like we do at Thrive Law, is vital to broadening understanding and acceptance. Awareness days like World Mental Health Day help, but they must continue to be a means, not the ends.”
Mental health is central to Thrive’s mission to ensure everyone can thrive in the workplace—we write about the subject often on this blog, sharing resources, experiences and stories—and we work with progressive leaders who are catalysts for lasting change and impact, empowering people to become their best and truest selves.
To achieve this, mental health must be high on their agenda. Only then can these people pioneers begin to realise potential and boost performance while ensuring psychological safety.
If you would like to discuss how Thrive might help you and your organisation make progress in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of your employees, get in touch to book a free consultation.
Please note this blog is for reference purposes only and is only accurate at which the date it was published. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any actions. Please contact us if you have any questions on firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog was prepared with assistance from Generative AI.