Observed annually on October 10th, World Mental Health Day is a public awareness observance day to raise the public’s awareness about mental health issues that affect people all over the globe. It also gives mental health workers, doctors, nurses and other professionals a chance to dispel mental health myths, reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and to help people recognize when they or their friends and family members may need to seek treatment. This holiday has been observed internationally since 1992.
History of World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day can trace its roots back to 1992. This is when it became a major initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health. This international mental health organization has members in over 150 different countries. Now, every day on October 2nd, this holiday is observed.
Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) has an action plan to deal with mental health issues up until 2020. This plan includes strengthening leadership to deal with mental health issues, expanding comprehensive mental health services in communities, implementing mental health prevention strategies and building up educational systems and research programs to help treat mental health problems.
Facts About Mental Health
About 12% of the world’s population is affected by mental disorders. This comes to about 1 out of 4 people or almost 500 million people who suffer from mental illness and could benefit from getting the proper diagnosis and treatment. The World Health Organization showed in 2002 that over 150 million people around the world suffer from depression.
In some countries, mental health services are either non-existent or aren’t adequate. That’s because many of the health service providers in these countries lack the financial resources and staff to adequately diagnose and treat patients who show up for treatment. This is particularly true in low and middle-income countries. All across the globe, more funding is needed for education, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness.
Observing World Mental Health Day
Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) provides a theme for this holiday’s observance to draw attention to a particular facet of mental health. For example, in 2013, the theme of World Mental Health Day was “Mental health and older adults”. In 2015, the theme was “Dignity in mental health” and in 2016, the theme was ““Psychological First Aid.”
World Mental Health Day is observed in over a hundred countries – which means there are all kinds of different events and programs held at the local, regional, national and international level. Some of the activities which are held to highlight mental health and mental health issues include public service announcements, art exhibitions, official signings of World Mental Health Day proclamations, lectures, seminars and health fairs. There are also usually academic events where mental health professionals can get together to share and disseminate research on various mental health issues.