The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year. This year’s theme is ‘Mental health for all: Greater Access, Greater Investment – Everyone, Everywhere’ – echoing former U.S. Representative and founder of The Kennedy Forum Patrick J. Kennedy’s rallying call in his profile interview for Make A Difference Media.
This year’s World Mental Health Day comes at a time when our daily lives have been turned upside down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The past months have brought many challenges: for health-care workers, providing care in difficult circumstances, going to work fearful of bringing COVID-19 home with them; for students, adapting to taking classes from home, with little contact with teachers and friends, and anxious about their futures; for workers whose livelihoods are threatened; for the vast number of people caught in poverty or in fragile humanitarian settings with extremely limited protection from COVID-19, or finding themselves captives of abuse or domestic violence; and for people with mental health conditions, many experiencing even greater social isolation than before.
And this is to say nothing of managing the grief of losing a loved one, sometimes without being able to say goodbye.
The COVID-19 pandemic is in the first instance a physical health crisis. But, according to the World Health Organisation, given past experience of emergencies, it is expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase in the coming months and years.
Investment in mental health programmes at the national and international levels, which have already suffered from years of chronic underfunding, is now more important than it has ever been.
This is why the goal of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign is increased investment in mental health.
Dr Ingrid Daniels, President of the World Federation for Mental Health said: “It is nearly 30 years since the first World Mental Health Day was launched by the World Federation for Mental Health. During that time, we have seen an increasing openness to talk about mental health in many countries of the world. But now we must turn words into actions. We need to see concerted efforts being made to build mental health systems that are appropriate and relevant for today’s – and tomorrow’s – world”.
In the same press release Elisha London, Founder and CEO of United for Global Mental Health said: “With so many people lacking access to good quality, appropriate mental health services, investment is needed now more than ever. Everyone, everywhere can participate in this year’s campaign. Whether you have struggled with your own mental health, know someone who has been affected, are a mental health expert, or if you simply believe that investing in mental health is the right thing to do, move for mental health, and help make mental health care and support accessible for everyone.”
There are many resources available for employers who want to engage colleagues with this year’s World Mental Health Day. For instance, as part of the #ThisIsMe Campaign the The Lord Mayor’s Appeal is asking people to:
1. Share stories to #endthestigma for everyone, everywhere.
2. Wear a Green Ribbon (physically or virtually!) to #endthestigma for everyone, everywhere.
3. Give a Green Ribbon to #endthestigma for everyone, everywhere.
You can download all of the resources to participate in this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign here.
Plus of course, don’t forget that the sessions we are running at the digital MAD World Summit on 8 October and at the Make A Difference Summit in association with Mind Share Partners on 15 October are a great way to connect and collaborate around World Mental Health Day with like-minded employers from a range of sectors, and countries.