October 10th is World Mental Health Day, a global effort to address the existing neglect of mental health. Mental health is a growing concern among public health officials worldwide. The number of people affected by mental disorders shows no sign of slowing and the statistics are alarming.
- Nearly 1 billion people around the world live with a mental disorder
- 3 million people every year die from alcohol abuse
- Every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide
At the same time, not everyone has access to effective mental health resources. Last year more than 30% of people with mental health issues in the United States didn’t receive necessary mental health services. The problem is even greater in low- and middle-income countries: 3 out of 4 people in these countries who needed mental health treatment did not receive it.
Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic that consumed the globe this year caused devastating effects on the mental health of billions. It also disrupted regular mental health services and made receiving treatment even more difficult. There’s never been a more pressing time to raise awareness and fight the stigma against those struggling to get by every day.
World Mental Health Day wants to tackle this growing problem. This year’s theme “Move for Mental Health: Let’s Invest” is demanding more attention to mental health services. What exactly is World Mental Health Day and how does the campaign help?
What is World Mental Health Day?
The World Federation of Mental Health is an organization dedicated to mental health advocacy and public education. It founded World Mental Health Day with the first observed event on October 10th, 1992. They created the campaign to promote the importance of mental health awareness and recovery.
During the event’s first 3 years, the WFMH hosted a two-hour television program broadcast worldwide. People from countries around the world reached out to participate, from Australia to Zambia, England to Mexico. The WFMH realized the importance of their annual campaign and continued growing it every year.
1994 marked the first year where the event had a theme: “Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services Throughout the World.” Individual World Mental Health Day events were taking place internationally by 1995. Event planning packets were translated into both Spanish and French in that same year.
World Mental Health Day has been observed every October 10th since its first year. Each year the theme encompasses a mental health concern that the WFMH chooses to focus on. In the 28 years since its inception, the annual campaign has opened countless doors for conversations about mental health.