Every year on October 10, World Mental Health Day is observed globally. The primary objective of recognising this day is to raise awareness about mental health issues and gathering support of individuals and authorities for the cause. It also aims to fight the social stigma surrounding the issue and help those who suffer from mental illness.
World Mental Health Day was first held in 1992, as a result of global advocacy by the World Federation for Mental Health, an organisation which now operates in more than 150 countries. This day brings an opportunity for people to come together to talk about the various issues associated with mental health and how they can be dealt with in a better way.
This year, the day comes at a time when the world is grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic and everyone's life has been impacted by it in one way or the other. This has brought the issue of mental illness at the forefront as millions of people are dealing with social isolation.
“World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for the world to come together and begin redressing the historic neglect of mental health,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.
According to WHO, “Mental health is one of the most neglected areas of public health. Close to 1 billion people are living with a mental disorder, 3 million people die every year from the harmful use of alcohol and one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide.” But still, there are very few people who have the access to quality mental health services.
This is why the theme of World Mental Health Day this year is ‘Move for mental health: Increased investment in mental health’.
“We are already seeing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s mental well-being, and this is just the beginning,” said Dr Tedros.
In many countries, mental health programmes are vastly underfunded and given the massive impact of the pandemic on people, the need for investment in mental health and psychosocial support is expected to increase substantially. Thus, it becomes even more crucial to throw light upon the subject of mental health.