Alice is a member of Health in Mind’s Board of Directors. Here she reflects on the theme for Mental Health Day 2023. 

Alice also works as a Senior Human Rights and Equalities Development Officer for EVOC (Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council) and has a background in human rights and works to support organisations to understand the role that human rights play in their everyday operations.

For Mental Health Day this year, the chosen theme is ‘Mental health is a universal human right.’ This theme captures how everyone, regardless of their background or identity, is entitled to sound mental health and wellbeing, as well as high quality support when needed. What this means can look very different to different people. It could mean: 

  • Being provided with the tools and support to needed to regulate their wellbeing on their own terms 
  • Removing the barriers that prevent people from accessing support 
  • Being connected with professionals who are trauma informed 
  • Having access to a range of support options, and meaningful choices about their own support plan 

At the heart of every method of fulfilling this right are the values of fairness, equality and respect. These are values which I have reflected on many times throughout the past year, and especially when supporting the development of Health in Mind’s latest strategy: Sharing Hope. The development process prompted an important question: what does fairness, equality and respect look like in practice?  

The results are a strategy which I hope aligns with people’s visions for what it would look like to have their right to mental health fully recognised. This includes committing to trauma-informed practice as standard, providing varied support options so that everyone can access the support that is right for them and incorporating participatory decision-making, as the best way to ensure that decisions are right for an individual is to bring them into the conversation.  

Behind all of these commitments is an ethos which sees high quality mental health services as an entitlement, not a privilege. This ethos is a reminder to everyone that support should be a two-way relationship, with the people receiving support being respected, empowered and given the best opportunities possible to thrive.  

Mental Health Day this year is a reminder of this ethos and, as we look forward to how the right to mental health is being prioritised both by Health in Mind’s strategy, and across the sector, a moment for hope for what’s to come.