World Mental Health Day

What is World Mental Health Day? What is the theme of 2022? And how can we celebrate it by raising awareness on mental health?

by Emilie Glen Colsted

World Mental Health Day is October 10th

World Health Organisation (WHO) recognizes World Mental Health Day yearly on October 10th. It is an initiative by World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) that started in 1992.

The objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health and organize the work that needs to be done to make mental health care accessible globally.

That’s why October 10th is a powerful reminder to educate about mental health and destigmatize mental health issues.

The theme of World Mental Health Day in 2022 is “Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority”.

Mental Health Issues and Stigma

Across cultures, we saw a lot of mental health issues already before the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, in 2019 WHO estimated that one in eight people globally had a mental disorder such as anxiety and depression.

Anxiety, depression and other parts of our mental health have been challenged ever since (WHO, 2022).

At the same time, mental health services remain to fall short (especially in low and middle-income communities). And we still experience stigma and discrimination that are commonly known barriers to preventing and treating mental health disorders.

Importance of Mental Health Awareness

World Mental Health Day raises awareness about mental health. But why is it so important? Here are some of the findings from Sickel, Seacat, Nabors (2014).

First of all, a lot of people experience shame around addressing their feelings. This can prevent us from reaching out for support in our network and from seeking professional help, therapy e.g. Thus, it’s important to raise awareness to help normalize mental health issues and decrease the surrounding stigmas.

Stigmas and discrimination can also contribute to feeling alone when living with a mental disorder. This may in fact worsen the symptoms. Therefore, increasing awareness about the prevalence of mental disorders (how widespread they are) is important to help people feel less alone and ashamed.

Lack of information about mental health issues can contribute to people not being able to recognize when they themselves or someone in their lives are in need of support and help. Educating people about mental health issues is therefore important to help them identify symptoms and warning signs.

Another aspect of raising awareness is that it helps advocate for countries, workplaces and other types of communities to prioritize and allocate resources to mental health. Mental health is important and awareness can help underline not only its need to be valued, promoted and protected by the individual human being - but also by the bigger society.

How to Celebrate World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day 2022 provides a great opportunity to collectively increase awareness of mental health issues to protect and improve mental health globally.

Here are some ways you can participate and celebrate this year’s World Mental Health Day:

  • You can check in on the mental health of a loved one. Your friends, family, neighbours and other people around you may be suffering and hiding it. You can ask a loved one how they are feeling, let them know that you care, and listen to them. This may open dialogue and prompt them to assess their mental health.

  • You can educate yourself on mental health and mental health issues. You can learn more e.g. by reading a book or watching a documentary. Or even by having a look at our website to learn more about anxiety, depression, stress and more.

  • Also, you can get involved by spreading awareness and helping other people find information and support on social media. You can post these hashtags: #WorldMentalHealthDay, #WorldMentalHealthDay2022, #mentalhealth and #selfcare.

  • Another way is to consider reaching out to the people in your local communities, your coworkers e.g., and discussing needed mental health initiatives.

  • Lastly, if you experience mental health issues yourself, you might seize the occasion to share your personal story, practice some self-care, or simply remind yourself to be extra kind to your mind.

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