Statement Delivered by Ambassador Juan Ramon de la Fuente at the Presentation of the Resolution on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in the General Assembly

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June 26, 2023

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

Today I have the privilege of presenting, on behalf of my country, resolution A/77/L.77 on a subject on which Mexico has insisted in various forums: the unavoidable subject of mental health and psychosocial support.

I begin by thanking and acknowledging the delegations that made up the core group that submitted the resolution for consideration by this General Assembly: Argentina, Canada, Israel, Japan and Morocco. Their contribution was fundamental in bringing positions closer together. I would also like to thank all the delegations for their contributions throughout the negotiations.

The purpose of the resolution we submit for the consideration of this General Assembly is to place on record explicitly the importance ensuring access to mental health services and psychosocial support in an inclusive manner. Of course, it is also part of a longer-term strategy to place the issue on the multilateral agenda and is in alignment, in this context, with Resolution 2668 adopted unanimously by the Security Council in December 2022.

To recognize the importance of mental health is to recognize the dignity and integral wellbeing to which we are all entitled, without exception.

During the negotiations, it became evident that there are divergent positions on how to refer to or understand concepts such as mental health itself or psychosocial disabilities. However, from the beginning, it was also clear that there is a consensus on the importance that these issues have on the United Nations agenda.

There were, of course, priorities to be privileged, among them: eliminating stigma and discrimination towards people facing a mental condition or psychosocial disability, and highlighted the need and right to receive psychosocial support services.

The resolution thus emphasizes that any form of discrimination or stigmatization must be avoided.

Mexico has always been a historical ally of people with psychosocial disabilities. In 2001, we proposed to this Assembly the elaboration of a specific Convention for the protection of the rights of Persons with Disabilities. Today we reiterate our commitment to respect and protect the human rights of persons with disabilities and all persons, leaving no one behind.

It is worth mentioning that not all mental conditions cause a disability and certainly, access to psychosocial support services, community services, and peer support and occasionally, the use of safe and effective medications, allow people to perform in an equal, active and participatory manner in society.

Addressing the issue of mental health also implies banishing fundamentalisms. The medical and human rights perspectives are not mutually exclusive; on the contrary, a healthy balance must be maintained between the two. In order to guarantee mental health and the integral wellbeing of the personnel, it is necessary to take into account, with the same rigor, the advances in medicine and the human rights of all people.

The resolution that we will adopt today addresses these and other sensitive and delicate issues in a clear and balanced manner.

But to adopt it is not enough. It is a step in the right direction, yes, but we will have to keep moving forward until mental health is part of universal health coverage. That it does not stop at ensuring access to health services with a human rights and gender perspective. Now it is time to pay more attention to the social, economic and environmental determinants of health, with a preventive approach and effective care services that take into account people’s living conditions.

Excellencies, colleagues,

Today, as the General Assembly will adopt for the first time in its history, a resolution that dignifies mental health, that protects human rights and at the same time demands the right to mental health services and psychosocial support for all, without exclusions, I invite all delegations to join the consensus and to co-sponsor this unprecedented and transcendent text. It is a historical event but it is also, above all, a call to action to make its content a reality. There is still much left to do.

Thank you very much.

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