Addressing stigma in mental health

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Excerpts from the 'Presidential New Year Message 2016', by Gabriel Ivbijaro MBE JP, President of the World Federation for Mental Health.

Since I became the 42nd President of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) in October 2015 I have received many personal communications from institutions and individuals about mental health issues globally. Many of these messages have been encouraging, but there are still many people who continue to face challenges, irrespective of whether they live in a high, medium or low income country. This is a reminder that there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve mental health parity and address mental health stigma. I am using this New Year message to call on each of you to join us to truly make a difference.

One in four adults affected

We know that one in four adults will experience mental health difficulties in their lifetime, yet stigma and discrimination are significant barriers that deprive people of their dignity in mental health. None of us is immune from experiencing distress. Better equipping the general population to respond more appropriately to other people’s distress in order to promote better mental health and wellbeing.

The World Dignity Project

Over the last year we have worked with the 'The World Dignity Project,' to raise mental health awareness by developing an easily recognisable Dignity symbol to improve mental health visibility. My mission is to drive public awareness about the need for Dignity in mental health, using the Dignity symbol to represent this concept. We aim to attract one million citizens of the world as founding members of this initiative so I seize this opportunity to ask you to visit the website (, download the symbol, share it and include it wherever you can, for example in letterheads and publicity material taking, every opportunity to show solidarity with mental health.

The rest of the letter

Read the rest of the letter here.