- World Mental Health Day is celebrated on 10 October every year.
- It is directed to raise awareness and reduce the stigmatization of mental health.
What Is World Mental Health Day?
World Mental Health Day is an international day instituted by the World Health Organization (WHO) for global education and awareness of mental health and advocacy against social stigma.
It was first celebrated in 1992 and, today, it continues to complement the “mental health days” celebrated throughout the year—including Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness Week, World Suicide Prevention Day, Addiction Awareness Week, etc.
The Global Mental Health Landscape
The post-pandemic period has amplified the mental health landscape across the world. Emerging research attests to the rising numbers of mental health conditions—especially among children, the youth, and the elderly. Studies show that:
- People with mental health conditions die prematurely, sometimes 20 years earlier than the average healthy human
- There is a 25% increase in cases of anxiety and depression
- Suicide rates, worldwide, have increased by 35.2%, with 700000 people dying every year
- The lifetime prevalence of stress disorders has increased by 16.1%
- Young people’s mental health is at an all-time low, with poor prognosis for mental disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, etc.
- Around 275 million people, globally, experience substance use disorders
- Social isolation and mental health issues have made the elderly vulnerable to cardiovascular and coronary diseases
- 9% of the population worldwide, especially women and adolescents, have a clinical eating disorder
- 30–48% of adults suffer from untreated sleeping disorders
Need To Improve Mental Health Care
The current mental health landscape is further aggravated by the weak psychiatric infrastructure. The limited availability and (sometimes) unaffordability of mental healthcare resources have made mental healthcare restricted to affluent sections of the population. The mental health treatment gap is particularly stark between developed countries and developing as well as underdeveloped states.
For instance, only 25% of the UN’s member nations have integrated mental health into primary healthcare, legal systems, and catalogs of recognized fundamental rights. This is the reason why WHO has called upon the global community to properly implement mental healthcare treatment options, programs, and services.
The global organization remarked in its recent report: “We must deepen the value and commitment we give to mental health as individuals, communities, and governments and match that value with more commitment, engagement, and investment by all stakeholders, across all sectors.”
Importance Of Celebrating World Mental Health Day
Given the bleak mental health landscape, the sincere need to celebrate “mental health days” like World Mental Health Day to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world as well as mobilize efforts in support of mental health is as important as ever. This is also the time wherein we should seize the opportunity to highlight and support innovations that make mental health accessible to all.
For example, the WHO has laid down the objective of 2022’s World Mental Health Day as “[making] mental health and well-being for all a global priority”. Several events have been chalked out across the globe, comprising:
- Launching of online counseling apps, especially for LGBTQI+ people
- Holding international conferences
- Organization of improvised art and theater events
- Holding mental workshops, awareness drives, group discussions, etc.
- Organization of suicide-prevention campaigns, etc.
Contributing To Mental Health Awareness
Aside from the state and community levels of support for mental health, our awareness of and compassion towards the cause of mental well-being should begin with us. As the saying goes, “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
We can personally contribute to mental health awareness by understanding the root cause of mental health issues associated with ourselves and the people around us. We can attempt to understand our core beliefs, learning experiences, and emotional needs and empathetically reorient them.
We can address our mental issues, start the conversation, remove the stigma, and strive better to develop healthier thought processes and behavioral patterns.