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World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is on October 10, and as our understanding of mental health grows, we grow along with it. Mental health had come a long way since the early nineties when the World Federation of Mental Health (WFMH) officially established the day. Our self-awareness and sensitivity towards it have changed things for the better. Our language surrounding mental health has improved as words like “crazy” and “lunatic” are used less flippantly, and we understand better that they can be unintentionally hurtful and stigmatizing. While we’ve learned a lot, there’s still much more we can do to evolve as a society.

History of world mental health day

In 1992, the World Federation of Mental Health, led by the deputy secretary-general at the time, Richard Hunter, created World Mental Health Day. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a precise objective other than to advocate for mental health as a whole. It was an uphill climb to change many harmful and dangerous habits that made a difficult situation worse for people.

The world had many mental health issues that weren’t properly treated. For example, there were struggles to gain public funding for treatment in France, inhumane treatment in New Zealand, and an ignorance of mental health. The WFMH knew they needed to act on a global scale to solve a global crisis.

For the first three years, a two-hour telecast was broadcast across the globe through the U.S. information agency satellite. The studio was located in Tallahassee, Florida, and it became a valuable way to get its advocacy message out to the world. They had participation from Chile, England, Australia, and Zambia, while Geneva, Atlanta, and Mexico City pre-taped segments for the broadcast.

The first World Mental Health Day theme was ‘Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World’ in 1994. Twenty-seven countries sent feedback reports after the campaign, and there were national campaigns in Australia and England. Continuing this momentum, WFMH board members across the globe arranged events by the day and its growing popularity among government departments, organizations, and civilians.

Starting in 1995 and continuing, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) arranged the translation of the planning kit material into Spanish, French, Russian, Hindi, Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic. As the years passed, more countries got involved and consequently, so did civilians as the perception of mental health became more synonymous with human rights.

The themes for World Mental Health Day expanded along with the times. Women, children, health, work, trauma, suicide, and so much more became a part of the conversation, and today, the average citizen is more knowledgeable regarding mental health.

How to observe world mental health day

  1. Do group therapy in the workplace
  2. Register for a group therapy workshop at your place of work. This can allow you and your coworkers to express themselves in a safe environment. We tend to hold onto the idea that pushing through and carrying on is the best way, but issues can arise unexpectedly if they aren’t adequately dealt with.
  3. Practice self-care
  4. You can make many changes to your life that can continue beyond World Mental Health Day. Some of the options include developing a regular sleep routine, adjusting your diet to healthier options, taking lunch breaks, and going on long walks. The point of self-care is to understand your specific needs. Find time to ask yourself what you want and go for it.
  5. Follow the theme
  6. Each year, there’s a new theme; even if it doesn’t directly involve your struggles, you can still learn from it. Spend some time and research the subject. Awareness extends beyond yourself and could provide you with the proper tools to better understand others.

5 Surprising facts about mental health

  1. Unholy spirit
  2. It’s believed in specific cultures that mental health problems are caused by spirit possession.
  3. Global numbers
  4. Globally, one in four people will need mental health care.
  5. National numbers
  6. More than 43 million Americans battle mental health.
  7. Youth depression
  8. Depression among youth has risen from 5.9% to 8.2% since 2012.
  9. Limitations
  10. Most Americans lack access to proper healthcare treatment.

Why world mental health day is important

  1. Identify the problem
  2. The idea of the mind is an abstract concept, and this day allows us to think about our thoughts. We’re evolving beyond outdated perceptions and releasing the stigma of mental health so we can properly diagnose it and care for ourselves. The battle becomes considerably more accessible with the burden and fear removed from mental health issues.
  3. Share your pain
  4. This day reminds you that you’re not alone, whatever you’re going through. Too often think we’re the only ones facing a hard time. It’s uplifting to know that other people have gone through it and made it to the other end. It reminds you that you can overcome your pain.
  5. Proper treatment
  6. As our understanding of mental health grows, so does our ability to seek appropriate treatment. With the right therapist and necessary medication, you can operate more efficiently. The more accepting we are and the more funding put into research and mental healthcare, the more significant the global impact.

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