Covid-19 the Trigger for SDG Solutions in Mental Health


  • Paul Illingworth De Montfort University



COVID-19, Mental Health, cultural sensitivity, cost effectiveness, resilience, Sustainable Development Goals


Introduction. This paper explores COVID-19 impact on Global attempts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3, specifically Target 3.4.

Purpose. Suggest a new WHO Mental Health Action Plan needs to be refocused to help achieve universal mental health.

Approach. The author discusses the context of COVID-19s impact on Governments inability to progress the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Target 3.4, reviewing this against the WHO Mental Health Action Plan (MHAP) 2013-2020 (WHO 2013). Utilizing relevant publications, progress/lack of progress are discussed, suggestions made as to how, by refocusing the MHAP to one more culturally sensitive and localized, to progress towards universal mental health.

Discussion. Contextualizing the lack of specific Sustainable Development Goals mental health target. The continual use by the WHO of promoting western medical approaches to achieve universal global mental health is explored, while using COVID-19 pandemic as a means of triggering change in how localized, culturally specific non-medical approaches could be championed.

Limitation/Strengths. The paper does not involve an extensive literature search. However, subject matter is timely and relevant. It challenges traditional approaches of how Global Mental Health has been addressed by organizations led by the UN/WHO. It identifies positive ways of progressing global mental health, by utilizing localized and culturally sensitive approaches.

Practical/Social value. The suggestions made are cost effective, given the financial challenges COVID-19 has brought, that is a practical and social value in its own right. Additionally, the practical local and culturally sensitive solutions can be used globally. They could be undertaken on their own or in conjunction with traditional western/medical models. The potential social value could be considerable, should it be the focus of the latest WHO Mental Health Action Plan.

Conclusion. Any new WHO Mental Health Action Plan must ensure non-traditional interventions are central and increasingly used to achieve universal mental health for all


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How to Cite

Illingworth, P. (2021). Covid-19 the Trigger for SDG Solutions in Mental Health. Mental Health: Global Challenges Journal, 4(1).