World Mental Health Day
October 10th marks a day recognized internationally as ‘World Mental Health Day’. This day is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health and is used to raise awareness of the struggles of mental health on a global scale.
The goal is to continue the international conversation of how mental health affects people everywhere, regardless of where they are located geographically. The day was also created to identify obstacles keeping people from receiving help and what we can do to eliminate those roadblocks.
Mental Health by the Numbers
According to the WHO, suicide is the second leading cause of death in people ages 15-29. This is a serious threat to the world’s young people – the world’s future. Furthermore, there has been a 13% increase in the occurrence of mental health struggles and substance abuse within the last decade. Depression and anxiety, two of the most common mental conditions, cost the global economy $1 trillion a year. Despite the shocking reality of how mental health affects the world, the average amount that governments spend on mental health awareness and treatment is disproportionately low.
The problem isn’t exactly that a lot of people struggle with mental health conditions, it is that treatment for those conditions is not accessible on a widespread scale. In many countries, mental healthcare is expensive and quite often not covered by insurance. This directly affects people from lower socioeconomic strata as they often cannot afford treatment for their mental health condition(s).
Call to Action
The point of World Mental Health Day is not to just hear the heartbreaking mental healthcare realities that exist around the world and feel bad about it – it is to start to change those realities. Change begins with conversation and awareness and ends with tangible developments. This means allowing those that are struggling to be heard, discussing how we as a global community can change the narrative of mental health, and then taking the legislative action necessary to force the change that needs to happen.