We fight for mental health and well-being for all with equality of treatment and dignity in patient experience as a basic human right. – World Dignity Project
Mental illness must not be something to be ashamed of. The World Dignity Project is a movement to end stigma and ensure dignity and hope for vulnerable people.
Professor Gabriel Ivbijaro MBE JP, Former President of The World Dignity Project
A Movement for Dignity in Mental Health
The idea for The World Dignity Project started to be transformed into a reality in New York in May 2014 with the recognition that many people who experience mental ill health as patients or care-givers are often marginalized and discriminated against, and there was no easily recognizable global symbol representing mental health, despite the fact that one in four people will experience mental illness.
The purpose of the initial project was to gain understanding of the experiences and stories of users of mental health services, both patient and caregivers, and to use this as inspiration for the design process for the ‘Dignity’ symbol.
Global Research into patient and caregiver dignity experiences was carried out by ModelPeople, a global strategy consultancy, in late 2014, producing a richness of emotional experiences in words and pictures. This enabled us to develop a Taxonomy of Dignity in Mental Health from a Service User Perspective, which has three components with different agents:
- Care, empathy and compassion: from healthcare professionals, family and caregivers
- Hope for recovery, self-esteem and self-determination: patient in partnership with healthcare professionals
- Equality, parity of esteem and full citizenship: from society, governments at all levels and the professional associations and NGOs who fight for service user rights
These insights inspired creation of The World Dignity Project logo, the first global symbol for Dignity in mental health, designed by the Edo Agency and launched in Lille, France on 30 April 2015, along with The Lille Declaration.
October 10, 2015 – World Mental Health Day: The World Federation for Mental Health adopts Dignity theme, with thanks to 2013-2015 WFMH President Prof. George Christodoulou. October 10, 2016 – WFMH World Mental Health Day theme is Dignity in Mental health – Psychological and Mental Health First Aid for All.
At the 2018 Universal Health and Mental Health Congress, held in Valletta, Malta, the World Dignity Project published The Malta Universal Mental Health Declaration with the input and support of our global partners. In Malta, we launched the first of our Mental Health Champions Awards which honor those individuals, institutions, NGOs and persons with lived experience who fight daily for dignity in mental health.
In November 2021, The World Dignity Project is co-hosting the 23rd World Congress of the World Federation for Mental Health in London UK, at the invitation of WFMH President Dr. Ingrid Daniels. This Congress, Mental Health – a Global Priority, will bring together experts by lived experience, caregivers, family members, mental health professionals from all fields, academics and policy makers.
In our first 7 years, The World Dignity Project has attracted the support of respected mental health professionals, academics, volunteers from diverse professional backgrounds, peer network leaders, families and caregivers. Together, through research, publications, conference participation and other advocacy activities, we are proud to have nurtured a movement for dignity and equality in mental health.
The World Dignity project has been provided with valuable support from our French partners in Lille and we are very grateful to Professors Jean-Luc Roelandt and Pierre Thomas, and Mr Claude Ethuin who made the launch of the World Dignity Project in Lille 2015 a huge success and for the letter of support from the President of France.
Many other institutions have made an active contribution to the achievements of the World Dignity Project including WFMH, WPA, Wonca, semFYC, WASP, SADAG, NOVA University Lisbon, the University of San Diego, USA and the WHO Collaborating Centre in Lille, France.
Symptoms are not a barrier to recovery, attitude is.
Mobilizing the public to ensure dignity in mental health is a reality:
- Literacy (promoting knowledge about mental health).
- Advocacy on behalf of vulnerable people and their families and carers.
- Change the public mindset towards those with mental health issues.
- Encourage wider public discussion about mental health.
- Provide dignity and hope for people affected by mental illness.
Mental Health Professionals
Helping mental health professionals to tackle self-stigma and promote a dignity experience for their patients, carers and families:
- Connecting professionals and sharing experiences.
- Increasing understanding of the service user experience
- Continuing Professional Development.
Engaging and influencing policy makers to ensure policies protect and promote dignity and equality of treatment for those with mental health issues.