World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day has been observed on October 10th since 1992, but many people today don’t recognize or even know this day exists. Mental health awareness, advocacy and education is extremely important, especially to those who struggle with mental illnesses or have loved ones that do. World Mental Health Day deserves to be recognized by everyone and reminds those who battle with their own illnesses everyday that they are not alone.

 

According to the World Health Organization, the objective of World Mental Health Day is “raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.” Many people are not informed properly about mental health which can cause insensitivity. 1 in 5 people over the age of 18 experience at least one mental illness in a year, says the National Institute of Mental Health. We, as a human population, need to be much more conscious of our peers who combat mental illnesses. Be aware of what people are going through and sensitive enough to understand that they may be fighting with inner demons.

 

Due to this lack of education, many people do not understand what specific mental illnesses are and how they affect a person. The National Alliance on Mental Health states that “the start of many mental health conditions most often occurs in adolescence,” and unfortunately, students in middle and high school are not given proper education on mental health in their health classes. This needs to change. Very little education can cause negative stigmas on mental illnesses, which minimize people’s difficult experiences. Education is one of the most important tools a person can have in their arsenal, especially when it comes to difficult situations involving mental health.

 

It is also extremely important to use World Mental Health Day as a way to take time to focus on your own mental health. Self care is necessary. If you don’t take proper care of your mind, body and spirit, you will find yourself limiting your ability to fight stress, anxiety and other unhealthy feelings. Also, it is crucial that you are aware of your family’s history of mental illnesses. Mayo Clinic reports that “mental illness is more common in people whose blood relatives also have a mental illness. Certain genes may increase your risk of developing a mental illness, and your life situation may trigger it.” Make sure you are correctly informed on your parents and grandparents history of possible mental illnesses and/or disorders so that you understand what you may be susceptible to.

 

On World Mental Health Day, we can acknowledge that mental illnesses are very real for so many people we meet and see on a daily basis. While not everyone is open to sharing their experiences, it is important that we use this day to create awareness and provide education on mental health so that we can reduce negative stigmas and deplete insensitivity to mental illnesses once and for all.

 

Sources:

http://www.who.int/mental_health/world-mental-health-day/en/

http://www.who.int/mental_health/world-mental-health-day/2018/en/

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.shtml

https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Public-Policy/Mental-Health-in-Schools