Mental health

WHO self-help intervention reduces psychological distress in humanitarian crisis situation

WHO/K. Carswell

23 January 2020 – A new WHO self-help approach for managing distress and coping with adversity has shown to be safe and effective in a trial involving South Sudanese women living in Uganda. The results of the study, published in The Lancet Global Health today, indicate that guided self-help could be a promising strategy to address the vast gap in mental health support in humanitarian response situations. WHO will make the self-help intervention available for widespread use once positive results have been seen in a second trial.

New QualityRights modules launched

27 November 2019 – New and updated training and guidance modules for the QualityRights Programme are now available. The updated modules cover topics such as mental health, disability, human rights and recovery; strategies to end forced treatment, seclusion and restraint; and establishing peer support groups. A self-help tool for recovery is also now available. QualityRights has now been introduced in 31 countries. Ghana became the first country, in early 2019, to introduce the Programme country-wide.

mhGAP toolkit for community providers launched

14 October 2019 - Communities contain a wide range of resources that can be used to promote mental health, prevent mental health conditions and support care and recovery of people with mental health conditions.

The mhGAP Community Toolkit is now available for field testing. Sections include an informational guide for programme managers and a practical manual for anyone wishing to promote and address mental health in their community.

Suicide: one person dies every 40 seconds


9 September 2019 - The number of countries with national suicide prevention strategies has increased in the last five years, but the number of countries with strategies, at just 38, is far too few, said WHO, on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day. More governments need to introduce proven interventions for reducing national suicide rates. These include restricting access to means; implementing programmes among young people to build skills to cope with life stresses; and early identification, management and follow-up of people at risk of suicide.


Good mental health is related to mental and psychological well-being. WHO’s work to improve the mental health of individuals and society at large includes the promotion of mental well-being, the prevention of mental disorders, the protection of human rights and the care of people affected by mental disorders.

Special initiative for mental health (2019-2023)

In 2018 the WHO Director-General identified mental health for accelerated implementation within WHO’s work. This WHO Special Initiative seeks to ensure universal health coverage involving access to quality and affordable care for mental health conditions in 12 countries to 100 million more people. The initiative will advance policies, advocacy and human rights, and scale-up quality interventions and services for people with mental health conditions, including substance use and neurological disorders.

World Mental Health Day 2019: focus on suicide prevention

1 person dies every 40 seconds from suicide. Every suicide is a tragedy that has long-lasting effects on the people left behind. This year’s World Mental Health Day, on 10 October, will focus on what can be done to prevent suicide.

World Health Day - 7 April 2017

“The goal of our “Depression: let’s talk” campaign was for more people with depression, in all countries, to seek and get help.

Latest publications

WHO Guidelines: Management of physical health conditions in adults with severe mental disorders

The Guidelines provide evidence-based, up-to-date recommendations to practitioners on how to recognize and manage comorbid physical and mental health conditions.

mhGAP Operations Manual

The manual is an integral component of the mhGAP package and offers practical guidance and necessary tools for planning, preparing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating mhGAP.

Suicide prevention: toolkit for engaging communities

Communities have an important role to play in suicide prevention.This toolkit is a step-by-step guide for people who would like to initiate suicide prevention activities in their community.

WHO MIND Project