Mental Health

Happy World Mental Health Day: Mental Health For All

updated, Monday 22 november: I just found this blog, Mind Over Matter: Psych Talks, and they have a very thorough listing of mental health-related support lines to call in South Africa. Y’all should check out the blog, the SA mental health organizations, and let us know about it all in the comments!

World Mental Health day is 10 October of every year. It is recognized by the World Health Organization, and it is a day that mental health issues can be promoted and focused on by various mental health organizations and people who have an interest in promoting mental health. We’ll cover these topics: (1) mental health emergencies, (2) signs of mental health issues, (3) overcoming stigma, (4) good versus bad mental health, and (5)

Getting Help

If you or someone you know are experiencing poor mental health and are in need of help. There are resources in just about every developed country that are available to you. Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to, as a full-time citizen and part-time blogger, I cannot provide a comprehensive list of resources from around the world, but I can provide some.

Unfortunately, those are the services that I can enumerate for the countries where most of my readers come from. I will continue working on assembling a directory for other countries, though. If you have any information about mental health services available in your country, please leave them in the comments or contact me.

Prevalence of Mental Illness in the Age of #COVID19

This is the first World Mental Health Day in the Age of #COVID19. We’ve always have had mental health issues, but the increase in stress and anxiety thanks to the ongoing pandemic, we have even more this year. Stress and anxiety always makes mental health worse it causes our defenses against our worst fears and tendencies to crack and break.

It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the world experienced a mental health problem in the last week! So, how do you know if you are one of those one in six? The main way is to ask yourself if you are having difficulty maintaining your day-to-day life. Are you having difficulty being successful: going to work or school, completing assignments or tasks, being hygienic, maintaining relationships, doing the things you usually like doing. These can include things like sleeping too much or too little, eating too much or too little, having a lot of incomplete projects, feeling anxious, worried, and distracted much of the time.

You can also look at what it means to have good mental health. Good mental health means that you can learn, manage your emotions both positive and negative, start and maintain social relationships, and manage change, uncertainty, and other problems.

Depression, anxiety, and alcohol and substance abuse constitute the three most prevalent mental disorders in the world. A study published in 2018 estimated that 792 million people have lived with a mental health disorder that is 1 in 10 people in the world. These estimates are extremely difficult to make because of stigma causing under reporting of symptoms. That study gave these estimates for each disorder:

  • TOTAL: 792 million or 10% of the world’s population
  • ANXIETY: 284 million or 3.8%
  • DEPRESSION: 264 million or 3.4%
  • ALCOHOL ABUSE: 107 million or 1.4%
  • SUBSTANCE ABUSE: 71 million or 0.9%

The good news is that each of these disorders is treatable both through talk therapy and medication. The bad news is finding the support and treatment you need is difficult.

The Stigma of Mental Health Issues

I’ve lived on five of the seven continents in the world and 12 countries. In five of those countries, people commonly said that there were no mentally ill people there. Mental illness was a problem of Western developed countries. I would see openly floridly schizophrenic people on the streets. I knew people that seemed to struggle with depression and anxiety and definitely probably had alcohol and substance abuse problems. Too often, people with undeniable mental illnesses are kept hidden away or are shunned.

Ending the stigma against mental illnesses will take people like us coming out and talking about their mental health issues. If we can identify with others who have or have had mental health issues, it will help us be more open of our own and accepting of the mental health problems with others.

As a person with autism and the father of child with autism, though, shows me that people are very uncomfortable with talking openly about it. People don’t know what to say or how to react. We need to model that.

The World Economic Forum published this article celebrating World Mental Health Day. They collected quotes from five celebrities on mental health. Celebrities like Prince William, Michelle Obama, and Jacinda Ardern. I’ll reproduce a couple of them here, but you should go read the whole thing.

Michelle Obama

“Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there should be no distinction.”

Michelle Obama

“It’s time to tell everyone who’s dealing with a mental health issue that they’re not alone, and that getting support and treatment isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength,” she said.

Deepika Padukone

“There were days I wanted to give up, but hope everyday would push me to the next day. I kept saying, this is going to pass. So there is hope.”

Deepika Padukone

“I have to take care of myself on a daily basis, what I eat, how much I sleep, exercise, mindfulness – to ensure I don’t go back to that dark space,” she said.

Deepika Padukone is a popular Indian actress who addressed the last Davos meeting talking about her struggle with depression and anxiety and the stigma around mental health in India.

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Image Attribution

“World Mental Health Day Observance” by United Nations Photo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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