Today, October 10th, is World Mental Health Day. Begun in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health, this campaign promotes mental health advocacy and awareness.
Globally, one in four people will be affected by a mental health or neurological disorder. But all over the world, there is still a stigma in even talking about mental health—let alone in getting help for a mental health disorder.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health struggles. Since 2014, Mental Health America (MHA) has screened almost 5 million Americans for mental health disorders; the organization found that anxiety screenings increased by 370% between January—before the stress of the pandemic hit the US—and May. Depression screenings went up 394%.
This year’s theme for the day is “Mental health for all. Greater investment—greater access.” This is particularly important in 2020, as mental health distress is even more widespread, and the pandemic has shone a bright light on disparities in access to care.
MHA found that particular groups were experiencing higher levels of mental health disorders in response to the pandemic, including LGBTQ people, veterans, and people with chronic illness. People in these groups often already face barriers to accessing quality mental health care.
It’s common for mental health and Substance Use Disorders to co-occur. The two need to be treated together in order to recover successfully. Lack of awareness about mental health disorders—and stigma that might cause a person to hide their mental health struggles—may stop people from getting treatment for either disorder. Without receiving treatment for an underlying mental health disorder, a person will continue to use substances to “self-medicate.”
World Mental Health Day aims to break down stigmas, allowing people to live authentic and fulfilling lives. This is important for everyone, not just those with mental health disorders. Mental health does not simply mean mental health disorders; it means emotional and psychological well-being. Good mental health is important for everyone.
So, how do you celebrate a day like World Mental Health Day? You can pick one (or several) self-care activities to do that benefit your mental health. You could choose an organization doing related work you believe in and start a recurring (or one-time) donation.
You might do some research about mental health; staying informed is key to busting myths and stigmas. Perhaps you could check in with a friend who struggles with their mental health. You might decide in advance to mutually support each other today.
Of course, these are all things you could do every day. Mental health isn’t something to focus on for one day and then toss aside—it’s always important. That said, World Mental Health Day is an important way to bring awareness to an issue that affects everyone.
If you are struggling with a mental health or Substance Use Disorder, there is hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for mental health disorders and addiction in facilities across the country. We specialize in co-occurring disorders, with a deep understanding of how the two interact. We will help you build a great life in long-term recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.