World Mental Health Day 2019

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World Mental Health Day (10 October) is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma.

It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.

This day, each October, thousands of supporters come to celebrate this annual awareness program to bring attention to mental illness and its major effects on peoples' life worldwide.

The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

History

World Mental Health Day was celebrated for the first time on October 10 1992 at the initiative of Deputy Secretary General Richard Hunter. Up until 1994 the day had no specific theme other than general promoting mental health advocacy and educating the public. In 1994 World Mental Health Day was celebrated with a theme for the first time at the suggestion of then Secretary General Eugene Brody. The theme was ?Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World.?

World Mental Health Day is supported by WHO through raising awareness on mental health issues using its strong relationships with the Ministries of health and civil society organizations across the globe. WHO also supports with developing technical and communication material

Theme of 2019

Each year the event has a different theme and this year it's psychological first aid and the support people can provide to others in distress.

Suicide prevention is the primary focus for the 2019 theme for World Mental Health Day.

On this year?s World Mental Health Day, in addition to events and activities taking place on or around 10 September, we are encouraging you to prepare to take ?40 seconds of action? on 10 October to help us:

  • improve awareness of the significance of suicide as a global public health problem
  • improve knowledge of what can be done to prevent suicide
  • reduce the stigma associated with suicide
  • let people who are struggling know that they are not alone.

Everyone can take part in whichever way makes most sense. Your activity may be private, for example, initiating a conversation with someone you are worried about or sharing a message of hope with someone who is struggling; or it may be public, for example posting a video message for local or national authorities about action you would like them to take on this issue.

Here are some more ideas:

  • If you are struggling, take 40 seconds to kickstart a conversation with someone you trust about how you are feeling.
  • If you know someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, take 40 seconds to start a conversation and ask them how they are doing.
  • If you work in media, highlight the 40-second statistic in interviews, articles and blogposts.
  • If you work in the arts or on digital platforms, interrupt your production or broadcast to transmit a 40-second message about mental health or preventing suicide.
  • If you are an employer or manager, take 40 seconds to formulate a positive message of support to your employees about resources available to them in the workplace or local community in times of mental stress.
  • If you want your leaders to hear your request for action, record a 40-second audio clip or video telling them the action you want them to take on suicide prevention and mental health.
  • If you have a platform for communicating with a large audience (social media, television, radio), provide 40-second slots for sharing mental health stories and messages.
  • If you hold political office, communicate publicly about action you are taking to promote mental health and prevent suicide, highlighting the 40-second statistic.

Final thoughts

After reading this article, I am sure you will want to join and make your contribution towards serving the society

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