World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day 10th October 2018

Sometimes we say we are fine, when we’re not.

World Mental Health Day (WMHD) is observed internationally on 10th October every year – a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy.

Initially established by the World Federation for Mental Health in 1992, WMHD is the only annual global awareness campaign to focus attention on specific aspects of mental health. Commemorated in over 100 countries worldwide, WMHD encourages and supports local, regional and national public awareness events.

This year’s initiative

One in four adults and one in ten children will experience mental illness at some stage in their lives. Despite this being so common, the stigma attached to mental health problems can have a severe impact on those affected – a lack of understanding of mental health problems can prevent people seeking the appropriate care and support that they need.

This year, the theme for WMHD is focusing on young people in a changing world. Half of all mental illnesses start by the age of 14, so there is increasing recognition of the importance of helping young people build mental resilience from earlier ages to help cope with the challenges of adolescence.

Educating children from a young age about mental health can help to empower and allow adolescents to better understand how they, their friends and their family are feeling, and will ultimately help to reduce the stigma around mental health.

Bringing attention to the issues that young adults are facing in modern society is a conversation starter for this vulnerable population as to what is needed in order for them to to grow up healthy, happy and resilient.

Adolescence can be a stressful period of life with many young people facing pressures such as doing well at school, body image issues, the influence of social media and difficult family backgrounds. There has also been a dramatic increase in incidence of bullying/cyber-bullying, young people affected by trauma and discrimination against the LGBT population. Young people growing up with these additional stressors are more likely to have mental health issues throughout their lives.

Almost 400,000 children and young people in England are being treated for mental health problems in England each year. The World Health Organisation has also reported that suicide is now the second leading cause of death amongst 15–29-year olds. These figures demonstrate an unfolding crisis in young people’s mental health and emphasise the vulnerability of today’s youth and their imminent need for support.

Why is World Mental Health Day important?

The overall objective of WMHD is to raise awareness of mental health globally and mobilise efforts in support of mental health.

It promotes strategies such as early interventions, prevention and resilience support as well as programmes to educate young people on mental health, to ultimately help pave the way for young people to lead healthy and positive lives. Promotion of wellness and talking openly from a young age can help to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.

WMHD encourages communities to identify causes, pinpoint solutions and raise awareness through a better global understanding of mental health.

For more information on WMHD and access to resources that can be used in your community visit MHFA England.

Follow the hashtag #worldmentalhealthday to see the global efforts in support of mental health education, awareness and advocacy.

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