Every year on October 10, the world commemorates World Mental Health Day (WMHD). It emphasizes the importance of mental health and well-being for everyone.
The goal of the day is to raise global awareness about mental health issues.
Historically, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a global mental health campaign in 2013. Each year, the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) chooses a theme.
This year's World Mental Health Day theme is "Make mental health a global priority for all."
Some studies have already shown that the COVID-19 pandemic has been taking a toll on mental health and it has become a matter of great concern for medical professionals, health care personnel, psychologists, guidance counselors, sociologists, spiritual and religious leaders, and others.
People around the world have suffered due to the loss of loved ones, family members, friends, and neighbors; job loss; loneliness due to protracted lockdowns, mobility restrictions, inflation, and socio-economic pressure due to the pandemic, geopolitics, and ongoing Russia-Ukraine war; natural calamities and conflicts of every sort.
Besides, the personal and social conditions of people, inequalities, poverty, unemployment; access to health, education, food, social cohesion, peace, and harmony also put pressure on mental health.
Before 2019, an estimated one in eight people globally were living with a mental disorder. With the pandemic, the scenario might have gravely intensified. As a result, COVID-19 triggered a global mental health crisis, exacerbating both short- and long-term stress and putting millions' mental health at risk.
Anxiety and depressive disorders have increased by more than 25% during the first year of the pandemic, according to estimates. Concurrently, mental health services have been severely disrupted, resulting in a wider treatment gap for mental health conditions.
Prolonged conflicts, violence, and public health emergencies affect entire populations, jeopardizing progress toward improved well-being. In 2021, 84 million people will be forcibly displaced worldwide. Despite all these challenges, it is an opportunity for everyone to rekindle our efforts to protect and improve the mental health of each other, especially in low and middle-income countries and the global south.
All must learn to value and commit to giving priority to mental health as individuals, communities, and governments.
More financial and human resources must be put into the service to strengthen mental health care with a community-based approach so that all people may access, afford, and support the quality of mental health care.
What can one do to make mental health a reality? There could be many. One important way is to create awareness of preventive mental health interventions so that stigma, discrimination, and exclusion can be adequately addressed.
Hence, World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to promote the issues of mental health collectively and in a sustained manner. Accordingly, we envision a world in which mental health is valued, promoted, and protected; where everyone has an equal opportunity to enjoy mental health and exercise their human rights; and where everyone can access the mental health care they need.
All people, communities, and governments have the duty and obligation to ensure mental health and well-being become a global priority for all.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.