What is ‘World Mental Health Day’?
World Mental Health Day is a mental health awareness initiative held annually on the 10th of October.
The main objectives of this event are to raise awareness of mental health conditions, reduce the stigma of mental illness, and to advocate for the mentally ill.
This post will share some information about this great event and the kinds of activities that are usually held.
When did World Mental Health Day originate?
World Mental Health Day is an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), an international mental health organisation with members in over 150 countries.
The WFMH was formed in 1948 with the mission of promoting good mental health and helping the mentally ill obtain the help they need.
The first World Mental Health Day was held on the 10th of October, 1992.
It has become a very successful event with millions of participants around the world, including mental health advocates, researchers, medical health professionals, and members of the general public.
The event brings attention to mental illnesses and how they affect people’s lives.
Some countries have extended the event, making it into a week long event to give more exposure to mental health issues.
World Mental Health Day themes
Since 1994, each event has had a specific theme, which determines the kinds of mental health issues the day will focus on.
In 2018, the theme was Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.
This theme looked at several key areas including:
How young people often suffer from mental health issues
One key piece of information shared during last year’s event was that half of all mental health illness begins by the age of 14 — yet most cases go undetected and untreated.
This fact highlights how much more work needs to be done to ensure that young people and their carers are aware of mental health issues.
The event also shared important information on youth suicide, which remains the second leading cause of death in people aged between 15 to 29 years of age.
The importance of mental resilience
The event also focussed on the importance of building “mental resilience”.
Mental resilience is a person’s “ability to cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly”.
This attribute is extremely useful in the modern world, where young people are experience incredible psychological stress from social media and world events.
How better understanding prevents mental illness
There was a strong focus on young people preventing mental illness by being aware of the early warning signs of common mental health conditions.
Other recent themes have included:
- Mental health in the workplace
- Psychological First Aid
- Dignity in Mental Health
- Living with Schizophrenia
- Mental health and older adults
In 2019, the theme will be Suicide Prevention.
The WFMH has written about their reasons for choosing this topic and have shared an informative document on their website — Suicide among Children and Adolescents: A Mental Health and Public Health Issue.
How can I get involved?
Many charities, schools, universities, and welfare organisations around the UK observe World Mental Health Day.
It’s also possible to host your own event.
You can simply have a get together with friends, colleagues, or family members to discuss mental health.
There is also printed material available which you can distribute to the people around you to raise awareness of mental health issues.
Thanks for reading What is ‘World Mental Health Day’?
To learn more about World Mental Health Day, visit the World Federation For Mental Health website.