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Next 10 October marks the 75th anniversary of World Mental Health Day and the theme chosen for this occasion is 'Mental Health is a Universal Human Right'.
Illness, and mental illness in particular, has the capacity to make one a stranger: in one's home, in one's social context and sometimes even to oneself. The experience of the loss of one's home, as so many people experience in the world today due to poverty, wars, deprivation, and which we see in the migratory flows that increasingly testify to the actuality of these realities, the experience of the loss of personal security rather than of one's own points of reference, raises the universal theme of rights, even (and perhaps above all) in moments of fragility and vulnerability to which life exposes us.
The theme of extraneousness is certainly not new for those who are confronted with a mental health problem, as well as for those who are called upon (in a professional, parental, friendship and/or territorial sense) to relate to those in need of support. We can venture a comparison between those experiencing psychic and social distress and people seeking a better fate for themselves and their children. Yes, because to be a foreigner is also to 'speak' another language, foreign to common ways and places, to feel and be out of the ordinary is sometimes also experienced as a fault.
The theme of mental health as a universal right calls on everyone to consider that there can be no one excluded from this right, that no one can be discriminated against and made a 'foreigner' because of their health condition. On the contrary, times and spaces of welcome are needed where inclusion and care can be exercised, a care that does not speak only the language of technology but also that of human relations, of presence, of listening.
Considering mental health as something that belongs to others, to those who lose it, to those who suffer its direct or indirect consequences, means forgetting that mental health instead concerns everyone, and everyone is entrusted with its care. As Prof. Gian Piero Quaglino emphasises in the testimony that SUPSI's Applied Psychology Competence Centre with the Sociotherapy of the Cantonal sociopsychiatric organisation (OSC) and Club '74 have produced for this very day, 'care is the vital that would otherwise be extinguished if there were not that attentive gaze and that feeling of transport to ensure that life is cherished'.
Mental health as a universal right as it is thematised for this 75th World Day, we want to read it as a reminder of the universal need for care: care of/for therapeutic relationships, care of/for the contexts and places where suffering is received, care of family members and those who accompany them in the experience of illness, care of the workers who deal with the complex realities that mental health loss raises. But also care of thoughts, of life and its quality, as a prerequisite for increasing and improving well-being in a society where no one feels foreign because of the conditions.
Please fined the interview with Gian Piero Quaglino, curated by Lorenzo Pezzoli, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMagJIol3KY&list=PLkqHXsVGsyqpKj0YSrMvXsJ9ckx_2NMON&index=8