Mental illness – a sad thing that happens to other people, but not something to worry your head about, right?
Wrong. According to the World Health Organisation, ‘if we don’t act urgently, by 2030 depression will be the leading illness globally.’
As someone who has bipolar disorder I suppose I have a vested interest in spreading awareness of mental health conditions but, the truth is, statistically speaking, either you, or a great number of your friends or family will be affected by them at some point.
Every October 10 is World Mental Health Day – a time to educate and raise awareness of mental Illness and its major effects on people’s lives worldwide.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is World Mental Health Day?
It’s a day first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization.
The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year.
Every year has a different theme.
This year’s is psychological first aid and the support people can provide to those in distress.
What can I do to support it?
You can get involved in Tea & Talk – a national fundraising event which takes place today.
It’s pretty chill – friends, family or workmates get together, have tea (and possibly also biscuits or cakes), talk about mental health and potentially donate to mental health research charity, Mental Health Foundation.
To make a donation, text THRIVE to 70300 to give £3 or donate online.
Generally the day is on October 10 but you can organise one any time and request a pack with some ideas here.
Why is it important?
Suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales at present.
While suicide and self-harm are not mental health problems per se, they are obviously linked to mental distress.
Having said that, you shouldn’t assume that because someone has depression, or indeed any mental illness, that they are or have ever been suicidal.
Nevertheless, this awful fact shows how much still needs to be done – from improvements in mental health care provision on the NHS through to people having more open conversations about mental health, and beyond.
Some other recent stats to think about or discuss today –
1. Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain.
2. As many as 10 per cent of people in England will experience depression in their lifetime.
3. The poorer and more disadvantaged are disproprotionately affected by common mental health problems and their adverse consequences.
4. Ten per cent of mothers and six per cent of fathers in the UK have mental health problems at any given time.
5. One in five teens experience a mental health problem in any given year.
All statistics from The Mental Health Foundation.
While stats can be a starting point for a conversation, I think it’s the conversation – however it begins – that matters.
When you have a mental health condition it’s pretty s*** in itself, but to feel like you’re the only one going through it, and to deal with it alone, and to feel like it’s somehow your fault, something to be ashamed of, that you have to hide, can be just as bad I think.