World Mental Health Day is a worldwide event that takes place on October 10. Appointed by The World Health Organization, its purpose is to educate, inspire, and help people who deal with mental health issues.
As a matter of fact, this subject is still overlooked or considered taboo. No more! It’s time to correct our past mistakes so we can evolve and grow together. And a good first step is to learn about World Mental Health Day.
World Mental Health Day was firstly celebrated in 1992. The event’s purpose was to raise awareness and to educate the population on relevant issues – much as it does today. However, after two years, the campaign started to focus on a specific theme, such as “Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World.” Last year’s events aimed to promote suicide prevention.
This year’s campaign
In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have found themselves facing general health and economic problems, but also emotional distress. While the need for psychological counseling is increasing at an alarming rate, the therapeutic programs are underfunded and unable to support those in need. With this in mind, this year’s World Mental Health Day focuses on increasing investment in mental health.
The online event will bring together world leaders, mental health experts, and celebrity guests that will discuss how we can all contribute to the effort of improving the affordability of mental health services. Attendance details, the complete program, and the guest list are available here.
How can you contribute
Apart from participating in the event, there are many things you can do to advocate for mental health services:
First and foremost, take care of yourself.
You can easily get absorbed into volunteering, but remember that your well-being and peace of mind are your main priority. Be aware of your thoughts and emotions. Working with and for others can be draining, so start a supporting system you can reach out to in case you need it.
Read, attend conferences, ask questions. Moreover, I encourage you to do a little soul-search to see what domain fascinates you, such as degenerative brain diseases, cognitive dysfunctions, personality disorders, and so on. Every case you encounter is significant. Your actions can make a huge difference for an impaired person’s life for the better.
Get in touch with NGOs in your area and become a member.
This experience will challenge your values and it will change your outlook on life. Some of the activities you can do in such an organization are conducting exercises with the beneficiaries or visiting them at home, sorting through donations, or starting social campaigns. While it might be hard at first, but your willingness to take part in something bigger than you is what truly matters.
Step up against discrimination and injustice.
You don’t necessarily have to wave a banner in your town square to make a point. There are other ways to help, such as stopping people who insult somebody with a mental condition. Up to this day, individuals who appear, act, think, or feel differently from ‘the norm’ are mercilessly bullied. This negatively influences their self-esteem, with long-lasting effects. In those cases, cut out negative comments and support the person in need whenever it’s possible. A smile works wonders.
Share your experience.
You can write your story on a blog, share articles on social media, or talk to your inner circle about a subject that sparkled your interest. Raising your voice might help others do that too.
As a final thought, I’d like to encourage you to attend the World Mental Health Day event. It might give you new ideas on how to create a better, more compassionate society. And remember this:
Together we stand
Divided we fall