For the first time, world leaders are recognizing the promotion of mental health and well-being, and the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, as health priorities within the global development agenda. The inclusion of mental health and substance abuse in the Sustainable Development Agenda, which was adopted at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, is likely to have a positive impact on communities and countries where millions of people will receive much needed help.
Within SD Goal #3 - health goal - two targets are directly related to mental health and substance abuse. Target 3.4 requests that countries: “By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.” Target 3.5 requests that countries: “Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.”
The adoption of the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan in 2013 and the Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol in 2010 by the World Health Assembly paved the way for the inclusion of mental health and substance abuse in the SDGs. Together, they are likely to have a large impact on communities and countries.
Janina Scarlet, Ph.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, a scientist, and a full-time geek. A Ukrainian-born refugee, she survived Chernobyl radiation and persecution. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 12 with her family and later, inspired by the X-Men, developed Superhero Therapy to help patients with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. She authored Superhero Therapy, Harry Potter Therapy, Therapy Quest, and has contributed to a number of pop culture psychology books.
A longtime supporter and member of UNA USA San Diego, Dr. Scarlet currently works as a clinical psychologist at the Center for Stress and Anxiety Management in San Diego, CA.