World mental Health day — october 10, 2020: WHO to host a global advocacy event

World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10 every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.

Oct 03, 2020

World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10 every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.

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.

This year, the World Health Organisation will, for the first time ever, host a global online advocacy event on mental health. At this event — the Big Event for  Mental Health — world leaders, mental health experts and celebrity guests will join WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to tell the world what we can all do to improve our mental health and how we can help make sure that quality mental health care is available to everyone who needs it.

During the event, which will be streamed live on major social media channels, you will:

–– learn how WHO, together with its partners, is helping improve the mental health of people in countries throughout the world; 

–– hear from national and internation al leaders about why they are making mental health a priority; 

–– hear first-hand why internationally-renowned artists have become mental health advocates and listen to their advice for those who are struggling; and

–– listen to critically-acclaimed musicians perform some of their most popular music.

How to watch the Big Event
Tune in on one of WHO’s social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and TikTok channels from 10.00pm to 1.00am Malaysian time.

Mental Health Myths and Facts

Myth: Mental health problems don’t affect me.

Fact: Mental health problems are actually very common. In 2014, about:

–– One in five American adults experienced a mental health issue 
–– One in 10 young people experienced a period of major depression 
–– One in 25 Americans lived with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia bipolar disorder, or major depression Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It accounts for the loss of more than 41,000 American lives each year, more than double the number of lives lost to homicide.

Myth: Children don’t experience mental health problems.

Fact: Even very young children may show early warning signs of mental health concerns. These mental health problems are often clinically diagnosable, and can be a product of the interaction of biological, psychological and social factors.

Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old, and three quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24.

Unfortunately, less than 20 per cent of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.

Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.

The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent and only three to five per cent of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population. You probably know someone with a mental health problem and don’t even realise it, because many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of our communities.

Myth: People with mental health needs, even those who are managing their mental illness, cannot tolerate the stress of holding down a job.

Fact: People with mental health problems are just as productive as other employees. Employers who hire people with mental health problems report good attendance and punctuality as well as motivation, good work and job tenure on par with or greater than other employees. When employees with mental health problems receive effective treatment, it can result in: 

–– Lower total medical costs 
–– Increased productivity 
–– Lower absenteeism 
–– Decreased disability costs

Myth: Personality weakness or character flaws cause mental health problems. People with mental health problems can snap out of it if they try hard enough.

Fact: Mental health problems have nothing to do with being lazy or weak and many people need help to get better. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including: 

–– Biological factors such as genes, physical illness, injury or brain chemistry 
–– Life experiences such as trauma or a history of abuse 
–– Family history of mental health problems People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.

Myth: Prevention doesn’t work. It is impossible to prevent mental illnesses.

Fact: Prevention of mental, emotional and behavioural disorders focuses on addressing known risk factors such as exposure to trauma that can affect the chances that children, youth and young adults will develop mental health problems. Promoting the social-emotional well-being of children and youth leads to:

–– Higher overall productivity 
–– Better educational outcomes
–– Lower crime rates 
–– Stronger economies 
–– Lower health care costs 
–– Improved quality of life
–– Increased lifespan 
–– Improved family life

Myth: There is no hope for people with mental health problems. Once a friend or family member develops mental health problems, he or she will never recover.

Fact: Studies show that people with mental health problems get better and many recover completely. Recovery refers to the process in which people are able to live, work, learn and participate fully in their communities. There are more treatments, services and community support systems than ever before, and they work.

Myth: Therapy and self-help are a waste of time. Why bother when you can just take a pill?

Fact: Treatment for mental health problems varies depending on the individual and could include medication, therapy, or both. Many individuals work with a support system during the healing and recovery process.

Myth: I can’t do anything for a person with a mental health problem.

Fact: Friends and loved ones can make a big difference. Only 44 per cent of adults with diagnosable mental health problems and less than 20 per cent of children and adolescents receive needed treatment. Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need by:

–– Reaching out and letting them know you are available to help 
–– Helping them access mental health services 
–– Learning and sharing the facts about mental health, especially if you hear something that isn’t true 
–– Treating them with respect, just as you would anyone else 
–– Refusing to define them by their diagnosis or using labels such as “crazy”

(Source: Freepik & Shutterstock/Benjavisa Ruangvaree Art)

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