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Understanding World Mental Health Day

Last Tuesday was World Mental Health Day. World Mental Health Day happens on 10th October globally, an initiative to raise awareness about mental health issues, reduce stigma and promote mental well-being in general.  Let’s explore its significance with some considerations to keep in mind and some action tips to help make a positive impact on mental health.

The way society has stigmatized mental health conditions in the past can prevent people seeking help they might need.  By raising awareness and talking about mental health, these stereotypes and stigmas can be broken down, allowing open and honest conversations to happen.

Mental Health is for everyone

Mental health affects us all, not only people who have diagnosed conditions.  Like our physical health, it requires maintenance, nourishment and rest.  Educating people about this is vital.

COVID-19 pandemic

 The pandemic highlighted the importance of mental health.  Isolation, uncertainty and stress affected people’s sense of well-being not only in our own country but around the world.  Consider the ongoing impact of the pandemic on mental health.  More young people have been affected and require support for anxiety, depression and self-harm than pre-pandemic.

Breaking Cultural Beliefs

Often, for men and boys, accessing ‘talking therapies’ is considered a sign of being ‘weak’. This could not be further from the truth.  Most men and boys who attend counselling have experienced a positive outcome in their ability to communicate their needs, connect with themselves in a more honest way and change their outlook about life.  Females too can be nervous about asking for help, sometimes out of fear of being ridiculed.  Breaking these cultural beliefs is vitally important to reach a more caring, inclusive society where help exists, and people can access it without worry.

Raising awareness

By raising awareness on mental health, individuals are encouraged to reach out for support.  Having information readily available, along with resources and mental health support services makes accessing support easy and worry-free.

Take Action

  • Make a Difference by reaching out to check in with friends, family and work colleague’s on a regular basis.  Become a good listener.  Even a simple conversation can make a world of difference to someone who might be struggling on the inside.
  • Self-Care means taking care of yourself in ways that promote relaxation, enjoyment, nurturing and fun.  Whether that’s spending time with friends and family, doing sports or fun activities, music, reading or exercise, understand that self-care is not selfish, it’s important for good mental health and life balance.
  • Seek help when needed.  Find out what services are available and make contact to find what’s on offer in terms of mental health services, whatever your age and stage. 
  • Make a change by learning more about mental health conditions.  Remember that mental health affects us all.  There can be good days and bad days.  Encourage open conversations with others on the topic.

Let’s use World Mental Health Day as a reminder that mental health is a far-reaching concern that crosses borders and cultures, every day of the year.  By raising awareness, breaking stigma and taking action, we can create a more compassionate and supportive world where mental well-being is valued and prioritized. Every small action can make a big difference in a person’s life. We all play an important role in promoting a mentally healthier society.