In celebration of the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on 2 December the UN hosted a panel discussion titled “Mental well-being and disability: toward accessible and inclusive SDGs.” This event was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Argentina and Bangladesh to the UN.
- Mr. Mateo Estreme, Deputy Permanent Representative from the Argentine Mission to the UN
- Ms. Saima Wazed Hossain, Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Autism in Bangladesh
- Dr. Atsuro Tsutsumi, UNU-IIGH
- Video message from WHO
- Professor Harry Minas, University of Melbourne
- Ms. Laura Upans, Justice Canada
The presentations highlighted attention to psychosocial disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder and development with a particular focus on the role of the SDGs. The panellists focused on practical strategies and actions for mainstreaming psychosocial disabilities and all disabilities in development priorities.
Some panellists had personal stories to share, such as Mr. Estreme who talked about his child with an autism spectrum disorder and Ms. Hossain who shared the personal story that her mother-in-law committed suicide.
- 18.4% of the total population of children in Bangladesh has psychosocial disabilities (Ms. Saima Wazed Hossain)
- In Bangladesh, 16.1% of adults have a psychosocial disability (Ms. Saima Wazed Hossain)
- Death by suicide is two-thirds higher than war-related deaths (Dr. Atsuro Tsutsumi)
- Suicide is the leading cause of death among young girls (Dr. Atsuro Tsutsumi)
- Indirect cost of mental health is more than 4% of GDP (Dr. Atsuro Tsutsumi)
Globally, an estimated one in two people will experience a psychosocial disability in their lifetime and annually, approximately one million people die from suicide, which is higher than the number of deaths related to war or murder. The economic, social and health impacts of psychosocial disabilities are pervasive and can lead to poverty, high unemployment rates and poor educational and health outcomes. In particular, there is significant stigma and discrimination against persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities, in particular in disaster and conflict settings, protection of persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities can be neglected (UN DESA, 2014). Let’s leave no one behind in the global development agenda, including persons with psychosocial disabilities.