By Katie Blawie: For the first time in history, the UN set of sustainable development goals directly addresses mental health and well-being. Goal 3 aims to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages,” and Target 3.4 states that we must “by 2030 reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment, and promote mental health and well-being.” We cannot have sustainable development if we fail to prioritize well-being and health – not just physical, but also mental – with solid, measurable indicators. Mental health policies and programs in all countries are crucial to empowering women and girls. Poor mental health among women is a major threat to sustainable development worldwide.
Women and the mentally ill of any background are two marginalized groups in society. When those two factors are combined, the exclusion becomes even worse. Kofi Annan issued a challenge to us collectively as the peoples of the world to find global leadership and vision on these issues.
We call on all governments worldwide to prioritize mental health with specific, measurable indicators and policies to empower women and girls in our global agenda for sustainable development. Let us of course recognize and confirm that providing economic opportunity for our societies, and for women and girls specifically, improves our individual and collective well-being. Embracing mental health for women and girls sustains mental health for all in our world.