World Mental Health Day falls on October 10th every year. This day is observed globally with the main objective of raising awareness against mental health issues, providing mental health education, and advocating against social stigmas attached to mental health illnesses. This year World Mental Health Day comes at a time when the world is experiencing an unprecedented impact of the global pandemic due to COVID-19 which has affected the mental health of millions of people. Research states, almost 80% of people dealing with mental health issues have said that COVID-19 has made their mental health worse.
Mental health conditions were already on the rise before the pandemic, but the pandemic exacerbated these cases. According to the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), one in every four people will be affected by a mental health disorder at some stage of their lives. These astounding figures demand that we prioritize mental health now more than ever before.
The pandemic has induced stress in the general population, but there has been an increase in the reported symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorder. Some people are more vulnerable than others to the psychological effects of the pandemic. In particular, people who contract the COVID-19 virus and those with increased risk (the elderly, compromised immune, preexisting psychological condition, etc.) are at a higher risk for unfavorable psychological outcomes. Also, healthcare professionals are especially susceptible to emotional distress in the current pandemic due to the risk of exposure to the virus, concerns about infecting and caring for their loved ones, and burn-out and exhaustion due to working long shifts.
According to WHO, the main objective of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign is to increase investment in mental health. These goals can be achieved through psychoeducation, providing psychosocial support, and an increase in mental health interventions during the pandemic.
There were some challenges in accessing mental health professionals at the beginning of the pandemic. Things have improved since, and you can get help in the way you feel most comfortable, be it face-to-face or online therapy sessions.
Nirmita Panchal, R., & 2020, A. (2020, August 21). The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use. Retrieved October 05, 2020, from https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/
World Mental Health Day. (n.d.). Retrieved October 05, 2020, from https://www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/world-mental-health-day/
World Mental Health Day 2020. (2020). WHO. https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/world-mental-health-day-2020
World Mental Health Day 2020. (2020, September 03). Retrieved October 05, 2020, from https://wfmh.global/world-mental-health-day-2020/