October 10th is World Mental Health Day: Why It Matters and What You Can Do

Key points

  • Nearly 1 billion people live with a mental health disorder. [1]

  • Globally, it is estimated that 5.0% of adults suffer from depression. [2]

  • World Mental Health Day is an awareness campaign celebrated in more than 150 countries worldwide to advocate, educate and bring awareness of mental health disorders and to mobilize efforts to support mental health.

  • It was first launched in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) with the support of the World Health Organisation and Carter Center as active partners for this global event.


Why World Mental Health Day is Important


In an ideal world, every day would be a day when we could speak openly about mental disorders and reduce the stigma associated with them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. A day like this gives us a valuable opportunity to have that conversation and remind people of the importance of talking openly about mental health problems and also reaching out for help when feeling overwhelmed.


By today, the world has grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic for over 18 months which highlights the importance of Mental Health Day's message. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen the consequences of these issues on people’s mental health, and each of us understands how COVID-19 has impacted our well-being.


While societies are returning to normality with social spaces re-opening and restrictions loosening, we should not overlook the next crucial steps that still have to be made. The COVID-19 era has created a mental health debt, which must now be prevented from becoming an epidemic of mental disorders. Each of us can do our part by educating ourselves, supporting others, and contributing to ensure that people living with mental disorders can live better lives with dignity.



Mental Health Day in Finland


In Finland, a celebration of Mental Health Day is coordinated by MIELI Suomen Mielenterveys ry. The goal of this year’s campaign is to help support equality and remind people that "Every young mind matters!".


Young people's study fatigue has increased during the pandemic due to big changes such as remote learning and social distancing. Kristian Whalbeck from Mieli ry and Ville Särkelä from the Youth Mental Health Association Yeesi ry both highlight, that it is greatly important to take young people’s well-being into account and show our support in this ongoing joint phase to prevent this from becoming an epidemic of mental health disorders. [3]


Every young mind matters! -campaign emphasizes how important it is that every adolescent is seen and heard as an individual at school, at their hobbies, and in different services. Through listening, we all can support the well-being of adolescents after a rough year of coping with the pandemic.




How To Observe World Mental Health Day


In support of this day, we gathered some points on what you can consider doing to honor the day. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can take part!


Spread awareness. Simply talking more about mental health is a great way to commemorate World Mental Health Day. Sharing stories and resources with friends, family, coworkers, and more helps create a culture of mental wellness and fight the stigma around mental health issues.

Reach out to loved ones. Just a simple “How are you doing?” or, “How are you feeling today?” can be a great start. However, keep in mind that these questions have become so common that many of us don’t answer them honestly. You might want to consider something like this instead: “I hope you’re doing well! If you ever need anything, know that I’m here.” Let them know why you value them.

Treat yourself. You can also honor World Mental Health Day by prioritizing your health and well-being. After all, taking care of your mental health should be your priority. Think of a few things you enjoy that also have enormous benefits for your mental and physical health: exercising, spending time with loved ones, journaling, or painting. Whatever you do, make sure that it puts you in a joyous place — this shouldn’t feel like work or a homework assignment.

Talk to a counselor. There’s a misconception that only those who are suffering from serious mental health issues need or should talk to a counselor. The truth is that counselors are there to guide, help, and support us all — whether we’re experiencing symptoms of mental illness, feeling stressed out from work, or emotionally drained after a breakup. We shouldn’t feel ashamed of reaching out for the right help and support. If you feel like you don’t need the help of a professional, you can still keep your mental health in check. Try to reflect on what’s going on in your life by meditating or writing in a journal.

Do random acts of kindness. Show your friends, family, and co-workers how much you care about them by doing acts of kindness. These acts don’t have to be something that costs a lot or needs a lot of effort. You can do something as simple as buying a box of donuts or a cup of coffee, or helping someone with their work assignment.


Spread the message on social media. The celebration of Mental Health Day in Finland is coordinated by MIELI Suomen Mielenterveys ry. Learn more about the possible ways to commemorate on social media on their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages.


Engage with young people – genuinely, respectfully, and equally. MIELI ry encourages all adults to take interest in young people, genuinely engage with them, and ask: ”How are you doing? Is everything OK?” In addition to asking how they are doing, you can also express that you care about the young person by simply being present for them.


Arrange green lighting on 10.10. at 6 pm. Shine green light on your window, building, or monument.


Get dressed in green. Choose green clothes or accessories. Share your photos on Instagram and FB with the hashtags: #vihreäävaloa #greenlightequality #kymppikymppi #maailmanmielenterveyspäivä


Support MIELI ry's mental health work. Donate 10 euros on 10.10. Text MIELI to number 16499 (message price 10 €). Or via MobilePay to number 50705.


Whatever you do, remember that today, World Mental Health Day, is all about understanding the importance of mental health and raising mental health awareness. Additionally, keep in mind that it’s a small piece to a much larger picture. Mental health is important every day; therefore, we must raise awareness and educate ourselves as often as we can.


SOURCES


  1. “World Mental Health Day: an opportunity to kick-start a massive scale-up in investment in mental health." The World Health Organization, 2020. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://www.who.int/news/item/27-08-2020-world-mental-health-day-an-opportunity-to-kick-start-a-massive-scale-up-in-investment-in-mental-health

  2. Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation. Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx). Accessed 8, Oct 2021. http://ghdx.healthdata.org/gbd-results-tool?params=gbd-api-2019-permalink/d780dffbe8a381b25e1416884959e88b

  3. "Korona-aika on luonut mielenterveysvelkaa: "Nyt pitää estää tämän muuttuminen mielenterveyshäiriöiden epidemiaksi" – katso suorana eduskunnan keskustelu klo 14h." Yle, 2021. Accessed October 6, 2021. https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-12129022






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