What is World Mental Health Day?
On the 10th of October everyone is asked to stop, to take a moment and to think about those suffering from mental health problems. This is a day for awareness, a day for activity, and a day that helps mentally ill people all over the world.
You can do your bit by joining in with many of the events. You can create your own event. You can lend a shoulder or a helping hand to someone who needs support. It doesn’t matter, as long as you’re sparing a thought for those suffering, and as long as you’re doing your bit to raise awareness.
History of World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day was first celebrated in 1992 and has been followed vehemently by mental health organizations, charities and support clinics ever since. It was created by the World Federation for Mental Health, whose goal is to prevent and provide support for mental and emotional disorders around the world.
The WFMH have a reach that extends into 150 countries and at the time they had close to 50 years of experience. This allowed them to make this a global event from the outset, albeit one that is more popular today than it was back then.
Many countries celebrate World Mental Health Week, with 7 days all focused around World Mental Health Day, either culminating or climaxing during this day.
No two mental illnesses are the same, and there are many aspects of each illness that makes this a diverse subject. With this in mind, each World Mental Health Day focuses on a single theme, a small part of a big problem. The goal is to provide complete awareness and complete care, but with an emphasis on a specific issue.
As an example, the theme in 2016 was “Psychological First Aid”. This theme is based around the notion that many of us are quick to lend a helping hand when someone is hurt or injured, but that this altruism rarely transcends to mental illnesses. The World Federation for Mental Health and the World Health Organization, as well as many other organizations, worked hard to raise awareness for this discrepancy and to promote community support for those suffering from mental illnesses.
In 2015, the theme was “Dignity in Mental Health” and in 2014 it was “Living With Schizophrenia”.
Doing Our Bit
At the FootPrints Behavioral Health Center we actively participate in World Mental Health Day, raising awareness for a number of mental illnesses, including:
- Schizophrenia and Psychosis
- Depression and Mood Disorders
- Personality Disorders (Borderline Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, etc.,)
- Anxiety Disorders
- Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse Disorders
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and Phobias
If you know someone who is suffering from a mental illness, you can do your bit just by offering some support. Having someone to talk to and to rely on is hugely beneficial. Not only can it help over the short-term, but you may be able to convince them to seek long-term help that they would otherwise avoid.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental illness, you should always point them in the direction of a licensed professional. There are support clinics, rehab clinics and more that can help. Here at the FootPrints Behavioral Health Center, for instance, we work with a team of experienced professionals that have helped many addicts with co-morbid mental health conditions get back on their feet.
In many cases, your first stop will be your physician, who can advise on the best course of action and treatment.
During World Mental Health Day communities and organizations get together to raise awareness in anyway they can. There are fun runs, sporting events, lectures and more. There are no restrictions, no limitations—if an event can raise awareness for mental illness, or if it can raise funds for a mental health charity, then it’s in the spirit of the day.
This is a day that celebrities promote, a day that many TV shows support, and a day that is becoming bigger and bigger with each passing year.
If you want to create your own event for World Mental Health Day, just think of an idea, choose a charity or a topic, and do your bit. The hashtags #Glitch and #WorldMentalHealthDay is being used by Twitter users to share their stories and help promote World Mental Health Day 2016.
You can find ideas, as well as next year’s theme, on the WFMH site. And remember, any idea, no matter how small, can help to raise awareness.