Health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Although the physical aspect of health is generally what comes to mind when we talk about being fit and healthy, it is important to remember that it both affects and is affected by the mental health and stability of the individual as well as their social connections, interactions, and experiences.
In the fast paced times we live in, it is easy to overlook many minor and major mental health issues as these are not easily diagnosed or even noticeable by the person experiencing them. Cultural and social customs may also sometimes hinder diagnosis and treatment; people of different genders face different hurdles, corporate efficiency demands the absence of emotions, and educational institutions prioritize factual learning over comprehensive, empathetic and responsive modes of instruction.
World Mental Health Day, celebrated on the 10th of October, aims to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health and against the social stigma surrounding it.
It was first celebrated in 1992 as a result of global advocacy and awareness programmes by the World Federation of Mental Health and is supported by the World Health Organization and its partner institutions.
The theme, albeit not very fluctuating, changes year to year, such as “Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World” in 1994, “Emotional and Behavioural Disorders of Children & Adolescents” in 2003, and “Focus on Suicide Prevention” in 2019. The theme of the World Mental Health Day for 2022 is “’Make mental health for all a global priority”.
This theme presents an opportunity to help people struggling with any form of mental illness, be it students, advocates, employers, or stakeholders from all around the globe, to come together and discuss the progress made in the field of mental healthcare and the steps to be taken for further development in therapy and research. It is imperative that people from all walks of life, ages, social and economic standings be included to gain a broader perspective which is crucial in recognizing and forming solutions according to the need of the hour.
The recent COVID pandemic has caused a huge financial and social unsettling. Displacement of people, loss of near and dear, disrupting educational services, and lack of newer job opportunities are just the tip of the iceberg.
The celebration of World Mental Health Day, keeping in mind its spirit, aim, importance and need, should be incorporated in all spheres of society.
Some of the ways that it can be done are establishing free mental health camps throughout all metropolitan, urban and rural cities; industries and employers conducting special seminars and workshops for employees; educational institutes holding counseling for alumni and patrons; society committees having sessions where grievances are heard and attempts for solutions are made; and last but not the least, family units should try to make the most of it by supporting each other and creating an understanding, empathetic and helping environment as healing starts at home.