10th October marks World Mental Health Day, launched in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH). Today, the WFMH continues to run and promote this vital awareness day alongside the World Health Organization (WHO) and United for Global Mental Health.
What are the aims of World Mental Health Day?
World Mental Health Day aims to provide the necessary information, encouragement, and opportunities to make a positive difference around mental health issues, including:
- Individuals are encouraged to take self-care actions to protect their mental health and to support family members and friends who may be struggling.
- Employers are encouraged to invest in employee assistance programmes, which are vital in a world where more people are working remotely than ever before.
- Governments are driven to increase their commitments to mental health by establishing and improving services.
- Journalists are encouraged to shed light on mental health services in their location and what improvements are possible.
Each year, World Mental Health Day also focuses on a specific theme – in 2023, this theme is “Mental health is a universal human right.”
Here at Now Health International, our international health plans come with complimentary Member and Employee Assistance Programmes, which include access to five free counselling sessions per plan year.
Why does mental health deserve such focus?
Mental health issues are highly prevalent amongst the global population despite often being less talked about than physical health problems. While mental health awareness worldwide continues to improve, there is still a long way to go.
According to the WHO:
- One billion people worldwide live with a mental health disorder.
- Mental, neurological and substance use disorders comprise 10% of the global disease burden.
- Depression is one of the leading causes of disability, affecting more than 260 million people.
- Someone commits suicide every 40 seconds.
There is also much evidence to demonstrate the link between mental and physical health. The Lancet’s 2017 Global Burden of Disease Study notes that mental health directly contributes to disability and death, including the early onset of heart disease and elevated risk of stroke.
In addition, The Lancet's November 2020 Mental Health Matters paper projects that poor mental health will cost the global economy USD 6 trillion per year by 2030.
How much investment do mental health services receive worldwide?
The WHO estimates that, on average, countries spend only 2% of their annual health budget on mental health provision. A 2020 joint release from the three organisations promoting World Mental Health Day said that mental health is “one of the most neglected areas of public health”.
While 2% of some countries' health budgets is a considerable sum, this low global average reveals stark differences geographically, with many countries spending far less. This is compounded by issues around inconsistent access to mental health services, particularly given the stigma attached to it, which may prevent people from seeking treatment, as well as poor quality services in some areas and affordability issues.
Conservative estimates say that 75% of people worldwide dealing with mental health conditions receive no treatment.
How can I get involved in World Mental Health Day?
Whether you’re interested in participating in World Mental Health Day in an individual capacity, as an HR leader in your workplace, or would like your employer to place a greater focus on mental health, there is a wealth of valuable resources you can access, including:
You may also wish to visit United For Global Mental Health’s events page to learn more about mental health awareness and access further educational resources.
Check out our mental health resources, too!
If you’re not a Now Health International member yet, we have a wealth of resources here on our blog that provide tips and guidance around mental health.
Check them out at the links below:
You can also follow us on social media, where we share a range of health and happiness tips every week that can help you manage your mental health and overall well-being. Simply scroll to the bottom of this page and click the relevant icon, or search for us on your favourite social media platform.
World Mental Health Day 2023
You don't have to actively participate in World Mental Health Day to make a difference to the global mental health landscape. Even something as simple as calling a friend or neighbour or sending them a message to ask how they are could have a positive impact. Especially if you haven't spoken to them for a while, or you get the sense they might feel lonely or isolated. You should also use World Mental Health Day to reflect on your mental health and well-being and take time to do something positive for you and your family. While life continues to feel busier and ever more hectic, we must remember that our mental health is just as important as our physical health.