World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day 2021

Typically, people pay a lot more attention to their physical health compared to their mental health. 

If someone sprains their ankle, they rest it or go and see a physician for an x-ray. If someone is suffering from anxiety or depression, however, they’ll often try to ignore it and ‘soldier’ on. 

Here we look at why World Mental Health Day is important and how to get involved.

What Is the Aim of World Mental Health Day?

There are many different awareness days each year and many of these relate to physical health conditions such as heart disease or cancer. World Mental Health Day was created to make us all aware that our mental health is also an integral part of wellbeing. 

The day is not just about highlighting different conditions but informing people how they can notice symptoms that they are struggling with and do something about it,

The sad news is that in many developed countries, mental health services are hugely underfunded and get only a fraction of the support that physical health services do. Part of the point of World Mental Health Day is to encourage governments across the world that this has to change.

When Is World Mental Health Day?

World Mental Health Day takes place on October 10 each year and brings together organizations and people from all around the world.

Understanding Mental Health

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 50 million Americans in 2019 have experienced some form of mental health issue. 

One of the biggest problems in modern society is the stress that we are constantly under in everyday life. Nearly half of people with chronic stress in their lives have admitted to having some level of depression. 

If left untreated, this can lead to a debilitating illness that has a huge impact on the individual’s life.

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health reflects our emotional, social and psychological well-being. 

A good mental health state means we can react, feel and think in a way that means we can live our lives. Poor mental health means we have difficulty making decisions, feel anxious and find it difficult to cope with what the world throws at us.

Mental health

Why Is Mental Health Important?

  • Mental health disorders cost the US economy some $113 billion a year in care costs, lost wages, legal fees and medical complications that arise out of mental health issues. 
  • Poor mental health not only affects how we think and feel, but it can also have an even more catastrophic impact on our physical health. 

The problem is often that we want to ignore mental health challenges – that can mean things get worse rather than better. Men, in particular, are reticent about talking about their mental health and it’s no surprise that they are 3.5 times more likely to die from suicide than women.

What Can Affect Mental Health?

Many things can affect an individual’s mental health status. Stress at work can lead to depression or anxiety. Someone who has experienced intense trauma in their life may suffer from PTSD. Individuals who are neglected can begin to develop mental health issues over time. 

Other things that can lead to mental health problems include: 

  • Drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Bereavement.
  • Discrimination. 
  • Physical injury or disease. 

Biological factors can also play a significant role in mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.  

Can Mental Health Change Over Time?

The short answer is yes. Everyone’s mental health changes almost constantly. In many circumstances, such as when we’re feeling anxious or low, it passes and we find ourselves on a more even keel. 

Other times, it can be more difficult because our depression or anxiety creates a spiral that is difficult to get out of without help.

Signs of Mental Health Issues

There can be a range of different signs that someone is suffering from mental health problems. An individual who feels sad or down may just be going through a bad patch but it could mean they are having difficulty coping and are at risk of developing a condition such as long-term depression. 

Someone might be constantly tired or have trouble sleeping. They may develop a problem with drug taking or alcohol consumption because they are trying to use them as a coping mechanism. Their sex drive can change, moods may switch quickly between highs and lows or an individual might suddenly become angry or aggressive or start crying for no apparent reason. 

The signs of mental health vary from person to person and no one individual is the same. It’s important not to brush aside changes in behaviour but make the effort to ask the individual how they are coping and support them.

How to Get Involved with World Mental Health Day

There will be a lot of different events taking place on World Mental Health Day 2021 and people can get involved in a variety of ways. One simple thing you can do is take part in conversations on social media or sign up for fundraising activities in your area. 

Raising awareness of mental health issues is important and it’s something we should all be paying more attention to.

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