World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day takes place every year on the 10th of October and it aims to educate and raise awareness on mental health issues. It was set up by the World Federation for Mental Health, celebrating it first in the year 1992. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices.

This year, suicide prevention is the main focus with the theme for the World Mental Health day being “40 seconds of action”; it will be used to raise awareness of the scale of suicide around the world and the role that each of us can play to help prevent it. Every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide; this means that almost 800,000 lives are lost each year. And for every suicide, there are 20 more attempts. (World Health Organisation)

Some other mental health issues that exist include: anxiety and panic attacks, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, personality disorders, psychosis, PTSD, self-harm and schizophrenia.

People are being urged to help out by:

  • improving awareness of the significance of suicide as a global public health problem;
  • improving knowledge of what can be done to prevent suicide;
  • reducing the stigma associated with suicide;
  • and letting people who are struggling know that they are not alone.

The World Health Organisation also highlights these ideas:

  • If you are struggling, take 40 seconds to kick start a conversation with someone you trust about how you are feeling.
  • If you know someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, take 40 seconds to start a conversation and ask them how they are doing.
  • If you work in media, highlight the 40-second statistic in interviews, articles and blogposts.
  • If you work in the arts or on digital platforms, interrupt your production or broadcast to transmit a 40-second message about mental health or preventing suicide.
  • If you are an employer or manager, take 40 seconds to formulate a positive message of support to your employees about resources available to them in the workplace or local community in times of mental distress.
  • If you want your leaders to hear your request for action, record a 40-second audio clip or video telling them the action you want them to take on suicide prevention and mental health.
  • If you have a platform for communicating with a large audience (social media, television, radio), provide 40-second slots for sharing mental health stories and messages.
  • If you hold political office, communicate publicly about action you are taking to promote mental health and prevent suicide, highlighting the 40-second statistic.