Happy World Mental Health Day!
World Mental Health Day was established in 1992 by the Deputy Secretary General, Richard Hunter.
For the first two years, this day was just used to raise awareness for mental health and to hope to motivate people to take action for helping people in need. In 1994, the Secretary General, Eugene Brody, suggested a theme for that year - “Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World.” Ever since then, there has been a theme every year, specifically for World Mental Health Day. Let’s take a look at a few past themes:
1996 Women and Mental Health
2006 Building Awareness – Reducing Risk: Mental Illness & Suicide
2010 Mental Health and Chronic Physical Illnesses
2012 Depression: A Global Crisis
2018 Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World
According to the World Health Organization, the overall objective of World Mental Health Day is to “raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health”.
This year, the major theme for World Mental Health Day is “Mental Health in an Unequal World”, which aims to bring out how the rich and the poor have been divided and how financial status affects their mental health as well as their exposure to mental health care. This day makes us recognize the issues of inequality when it comes to mental health, and through this article, we hope it sparks something in you to take action this year.
According to mentalhealth.org, mental health equality means “to accept that all public bodies, both national and local, have a responsibility to ensure services and support meet the needs of people from all communities.”
A little less than 60% of people suffering from mental illnesses do not receive professional mental health care.
More than 70% of people suffering from mental illnesses in England do not receive the support they need.
60% of adolescents with major depression did not receive any mental health support
Whether it’s due to the mental health stigma, prejudice or discrimination against people suffering from poor mental health, this needs to change. The percentage of people not receiving support is only going to go up if we do not act on this right now.
What you can do to celebrate
Make World Mental Health Day a paid holiday
Bring treats, such as donuts, to work (to raise awareness)
One-on-one, heart-to-heart talks with co-workers
Remember that it’s the little changes you make that make a difference in your workplace. Handing out green ribbons or handing out little notes to all your co-workers is all you need to do to let your co-workers know that you’re here for them and it’s okay to take days off due to poor mental health.
At a personal level:
Give yourself a self-care day
Let yourself indulge in some good food
Start a good habit for self care
Do a random act of kindness
Walking by the train station and buying a Mrs Fields Cookie because you really want one is all you need to do to tell yourself you deserve to have one after staying alive for so long. Life is tough and World Mental Health Day is here to let you acknowledge how far you’ve gone and how you should be proud of yourself.