World Mental Health Day 2019
World Mental Health Day (10 October) is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organisation with members and contacts in more than 150 countries. Each October, on this day, thousands of supporters come to celebrate this annual awareness programme to bring attention to mental health issues and the major effects they can have on peoples’ lives worldwide.
With around 1 in 4 people in the UK suffering from mental health issues, awareness programmes such as World Mental Health Day play an important part in lessening the stigma attached to mental health issues, making it easier for individuals to give themselves permission to ask for help. According to the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership, only 27% of people who died by suicide between 2005 and 2015 had been in contact with mental health services in the year before they died; this is why the importance of awareness-raising days and events such as World Mental Health Day cannot be overstated.
This year, the theme is suicide prevention. Every year close to 800,000 people around the world – and approximately 6,000 in the UK (2017) - take their own life and there are many more people who attempt suicide. Every suicide is a tragedy that affects families and communities and has long-lasting effects on the people left behind.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 50 in the UK. The rate of suicide is considerably higher in men, with around three times as many men dying as a result of suicide compared to women.
In the UK, there have been encouraging signs of progress in the fight to lower instances of suicide; on last year’s World Mental Health day the UK government announced the appointment of a new minister – the Minister for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention. In Scotland a National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group has been formed with the aim of lowering the rates of suicide in Scotland by 20% by 2022. As part of this initiative they have engaged with amateur and professional football clubs in Scotland and have committed to mandatory training for all NHS and social security staff.
The new Every Mind Matters campaign by Public Health of England encourages adults to be more aware of their mental health and helps them discover simple steps to look after their mental health and wellbeing. There is a free NHS-approved online tool on the Every Mind Matters website, which helps you build an action plan to deal with stress and anxiety, boost your mood, improve your sleep and help you feel more in control.
Just click below banner to learn more about how to look after your mental health and create your own action plan:
These types of initiatives are themselves the result of the reduction of stigma and our collective willingness to discuss uncomfortable subjects such as suicide and that, in itself, is proof of the merit of awareness-raising events such as World Mental Health Day.
If you are struggling or know someone who is struggling, remember you are not alone and that your Validium service can help.