Everything you need to know about World Mental Health Day

As today is World Mental Health Day, it is important for us to reflect and educate ourselves on mental health issues, and to help break down the stigma that comes along with them.

It is estimated that almost one billion people in the world suffer from some sort of mental illness, and the numbers are only going up – which is why action needs to be taken now.

What is it?

World Mental Health Day aims to raise awareness around a range of mental health issues, as well as helping those who are suffering first-hand. The day gives people an opportunity to talk about their mental health and pause to consider how they can focus on their own wellbeing.

The day was initially started on the same date in 1992 with the same objectives, and this year’s theme is ‘Mental health care for all. Let’s make it a reality.’ Here are some of the themes from previous years:

  • Women, children and mental health.
  • The effects of trauma and violence.
  • The relationship between physical and mental health.
  • Depression and Suicide.
  • Living with Schizophrenia.

This years theme is a particularly important thing to focus on, as the COVID-19 pandemic has without a doubt had a massive impact on people’s mental health. On top of this, mental health services and support have been disrupted, leaving a lot of people vulnerable.

The World Health Organisation have said that this year, they are encouraging people to ‘highlight positive stories as part of their own activities, as an inspiration to others’ and that they will provide ‘easy-to-read’ materials on how to both look after your own mental health as well as your peers’.

Credit: Kelly Sikkema, Unsplash
Credit: Kelly Sikkema, Unsplash

Why is it important?

As mental health becomes a more prevalent issue in our lives – whether that be personally or through friends and family, it is important to acknowledge that not everyone may have access to the help they so desperately need.

While some mental illnesses are considered an urgent health challenge, funding and resources allocated to them are often extremely low, and in some cases non-existent.

80% of people who suffer from mental health issues live in low and middle income countries, where less than one in five people get the treatment they need. This is as a result of factors such as inadequate services and the stigma that still surrounds mental health.

The charity Health Poverty Action claim that good mental health services should be a ‘core part of the services provided by health systems, complimenting physical health check-ups and treatments’.

The people in these countries who are suffering are not in a position to demand and create action, but by raising awareness, erasing the stigma behind mental health struggles, and raising the necessary funds, everyone has the potential to invoke change.

How to get involved

The mental health charity Young Minds has encouraged schools, workplaces and communities throughout the UK to take part in their #HelloYellow initiative by wearing yellow and helping to raise funds for the cause. They are taking donations on their website, which can be made here.

It is more important than ever to get involved in raising awareness – not just for today, but for every other day in the year too. Mental health issues are present in so many people’s day-to-day lives, and the sooner we erase the stigma and give everyone access to the help they need, the better.

Listed below are some of the organisations you can reach out to for direct mental health support:

Samaritans – Offer 24 hour emotional support

  • Call 116 123 – Free.
  • Email jo@samaritans.org.uk

Shout Crisis Text Line

  • If you are experiencing a personal crisis, are unable to cope and need support, text Shout to 85258.

Rethink Mental illness – Advice and information line open Monday to Friday, 10am-2pm.

  • Call Rethink on 0300 5000 927 (calls are charged at your local rate).

Mind – Helpline helps answer questions about types of mental health problem, where to get help, treatment and advocacy.

  • Call 0300 123 3393.
  • Email info@mind.org.uk.

Featured image credit: Emily Underworld – Unsplash

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