What is World Mental Health Day and what is the 2019 theme?
The event takes place every year on October 10 and it aims to educate and raise awareness of mental health issues.
The day was set up by the World Federation for Mental Health and it was first celebrated in 1992.
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.
The mental health website uses the acronym Wait in the message to help with suicide prevention:
- W – watch out for signs of distress and uncharacteristic behaviour
- A – ask “are you having suicidal thoughts?”
- I – it will pass – assure your loved one that, with help, their suicidal feelings will pass with time
- T – talk to others – encourage your loved one to seek help from a GP or health professional
Why are mental health issues important?
According to the World Health Organisation, “if we don’t act urgently, by 2030 depression will be the leading illness globally.”
And while suicide isn’t always related to mental health problems, there are links, and currently suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales.
Having said that, you shouldn’t always assume that someone suffering from mental illness is also suicidal – but it makes it clear that more needs to be done.
This can range from improvements in mental health care provision on the NHS to more open conversations about mental health.
How can you get involved?
You can get involved in a number of ways, including hosting a Tea&Talk fundraising event for friends and family.
If you want to hold one, simple gather up some people and talk about mental health issues over a tea and possibly biscuits.
If you want to make a donation to the Mental Health Foundation, text THRIVE to 70300 to give £3 or donate online.
Those interested can take action by educating themselves about mental health and recognise the signs of mental health issues.
They can also organise conversations at offices, schools and their local community with friends, neighbours and family members about the importance of mental health and how to quickly recognise the signs of mental health problems such as depression.
Other ways to observe World Mental Health Day include volunteering or donating to mental health clinics and services that help people suffering from mental health issues, registering for group therapy sessions and practising proper mental health self-care for themselves, such as by exercising, eating healthily, volunteering, meditating and seeking counselling if necessary.