What does dignity mean to mental health?

On 10 October 2015, we celebrate the 24th World Mental Health Day. This year, the theme of the day is ‘Dignity in Mental Health’ – a theme that invites you to think about what dignity actually means in your eyes – and perhaps also to evaluate whether you remember to treat other people with dignity in your everyday life?

The World Federation of Mental Health (WFMH) established World Mental Health Day in 1992 aiming to educate the public on mental health at all levels of society. WFMH has been very successful in establishing World Mental Health Day as a landmark each year for mental health education ever since, but the day and its purpose need to be actively supported in order keep increasing awareness and future success.     

Let’s talk about Dignity 
This year, World Mental Health Day opens up for discussions about what dignity means, how we can change perceptions of dignity and what we can do to make sure that, going forward, people living with brain disease are given the dignity they deserve. It is also an opportunity to shed light on the fact that a brain disease is a disease area that should be given the same dignity and attention as any somatic illness.

At Lundbeck, we want to contribute to World Mental Health Day by kick-starting conversations around this important subject and we have thus initiated a ‘Dignity in Mental Health’ -campaign aimed at creating awareness around the diversity of what dignity means and to start the conversation around what dignity could be tomorrow and for the future to come. 

We will invite people to share what dignity means to them and through brief, personal statements, hopefully be able to paint a picture of the endless different perceptions dignity has around the world. We hope that everyone who engages in the conversations will learn from each other and that we together can work towards highlighting that dignity is important to mental health. 

Share your thoughts and join in on the conversation on our TwitterYouTube or LinkedIn accounts or visit the Lundbeck campaign-dedicated website

What is dignity?
Dictionaries define dignity as ‘the state or quality of being worthy of honour and respect’, a basic feeling that should every human being should be allowed to feel. However, reality is quite different, in fact, more than 70% of people living with brain disease experience discrimination  and is consequently not treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve. Research shows that stigma surrounding brain disease and discrimination of people living with a disorder can eventually stop them from doing things such as building new and retaining existing friendships and finding and keeping jobs . It stops them from living the lives they want. 

Dreams about traveling the world or building your own house often remain a dream for people living with brain disease – research shows that about a quarter of people with a mental illness have been refused by insurance or finance companies, making it hard for them to travel, own property or run a business . One might ask: Where is the dignity in that? People with brain disease deserve access to treatment and care that gives them the best opportunity to function well and fulfill enriched lives. 



  1. Some stats on the devastating impact of mental illness worldwide, followed by some reasons for hope, Ted Talk by Vikram Patel (http://blog.ted.com/some-stats-on-the-devastating-impact-of-mental-illness-worldwide-followed-by-some-reasons-for-hope/). Posted by Kate Torgovnik May, September 11, 2012, TED Blog. 
  2. Stigma Shout: Service user and carer experiences of stigma and discrimination. Published by Time to Change, UK, 2008 (http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/sites/default/files/Stigma%20Shout.pdf) 
  3. Living with stigma and discrimination. Published by Time to Change (http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/what-are-mental-health-problems/stigma-discrimination/impact) 


You can follow the discussions online from the WFMH on Facebook and Twitter via the hashtags #WMHDay and #WMHD2015

Caring for carers

In 2015, Lundbeck continues to support the WFMH to help fight the stigma against brain disease and invested in the Carer Academy to empower carers in supporting their loved ones.

Read more about the initiative here.

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