Next World Mental Health DayMonday, 10 October 2022
World Mental Health Day is celebrated on October 10. It is a global observance where the aim of the day is met with a theme to promote, educate, and raise awareness around mental health, get people talking about it, and eradicate the stigma that often comes with mental health.
Why is World Mental Health Day celebrated?
The premise of World Mental Health Day goes back to 1992. Mental health is incredibly important and is a subject that applies to each and every one of us. In more recent years, the stigma around mental health such as labelling those diagnosed or advocating suppressing or not talking about it has declined, however, there is still a long way to go in recognizing the importance of mental health and well-being in society.
For decades now, there is a different theme set each year by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) and recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), which addresses and raises awareness of a particular topic. Past themes in recent years include:
In 2018, WFMH set the theme of “Young people and mental health in a changing world”.
The theme for World Mental Health Day 2019 was “Focus on suicide prevention”, with the goal of increasing awareness and intervention, and reducing the number of suicides arising from mental illnesses such as depression.
In 2020, the theme was “Move for Mental Health: Let's Invest”, with the aim of promoting the importance of the increased financial aid that’s needed on an international level to support mental well-being.
2021 sees the theme of “Mental Health in an Unequal World”, addressing the issue of mental health services available and the unequal balance of access to those services between the wealthy and more poverty-stricken demographics.
The themes since 2020 have also highlighted how the global pandemic COVID-19 has had a significant effect on mental health and issues surrounding it, particularly as most of the world has been affected financially and many communities worldwide were required to go into isolation. Less social interaction arising from social distancing can have severe effects, such as increased anxiety from living in an ever-changing and uncertain world.
While significant trauma and life events can impact our mental health, many of life’s stresses can often be related to our day-to-day work or personal life. Workplaces can help by putting up posters to raise awareness and educate their employees, encouraging them to support one another and assisting them with looking out for signs that their colleagues may need support. Awareness can be taught in schools to better inform young people, and educate them about the positive long-term benefits of looking after their mental well-being.
What to do on World Mental Health Day:
Take some time for yourself and check in on your own well-being. Make sure you’re getting enough time to relax and rejuvenate to keep a healthy mind, and avoid any unnecessary stresses in your day-to-day life. If you feel like things are getting on top of you or are finding it difficult to keep organized, consider using a daily planner or wellness journal to make sure you’re looking after yourself.
Check in with friends and family, they will surely appreciate the gesture. Use this day to let them know that you’re there for them, and to remind them how important their mental health is. If there is someone in your life who you are particularly concerned about, seek out relevant help to get them the professional support and therapy they require.
Support and where to find it: there are plenty of resources, charities, and organizations that are there to help including but not limited to: National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Samaritans USA. If you yourself feel you may be struggling with mental health, know that you’re not alone. Nearly 50 million Americans are reported to struggle with their mental health. Don’t suffer in silence, seek help.
On and around this date, it is common to see people wearing a ribbon in solidarity, to raise awareness, and to show their support. Others choose to take their support online by posting on social media with the hashtag #worldmentalhealthday.