Today, Oct. 10, 2016, is World Mental Health Day – a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy, and a day to recognize and acknowledge that mental illness doesn’t just happen to other people, that it’s a growing concern for us all.
In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), if we don’t act urgently, by 2030 depression will be the leading illness globally.”
World Mental Health Day began in 1992 as the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in many countries, including the United States. Each year features a different theme, and this year’s theme is, Dignity in Mental Health-Psychological & Mental Health First Aid for All.
Long name but it essentially means taking mental health and illness out of the shadows so that people feel more confident discussing and tackling the stigma, isolation and discrimination that continues to plague people with mental health issues, their families and careers.
This is an issue we take very seriously at Family & Children’s Place, where we work with children and families that have been hurt by trauma caused by violence, abuse and neglect, where behavioral manifestations might include things such as anxiety and mood disorders, eating disorders, impulse control and addiction disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, personality disorders and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
With the increases being seen in mental health-related issues, it’s important for us all to learn how to recognize psychological distress and then to provide the appropriate aid and help. Our PAL Coalition – a Drug-Free Communities Support Program, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, monthly offers Mental Health First Aid Training.
The course – one aimed at adults and one for adults working with youth – helps participants’ learn the signs and symptoms of different types of mental illnesses, how they can affect a person’s daily life and how to help someone who may be experiencing these challenges.
It’s helpful in that not only does it help you recognize when friends and family may be suffering mental distress, but what to say and just as importantly, what not to say.
You can find information about upcoming courses here: https://www.familyandchildrensplace.org/events/
There are things you can do, too, as an individual, to look after your own mental health, including:
- Talk about your feelings
- Eat well
- Drink sensibly
- Keep in touch with loved ones
- Ask for help
- Take a break
- Do something you’re good at
- Accept who you are
- Care for others
This World Mental Health Day, take a moment to assess your own situation and those around you. It’s OK to acknowledge that we all need a little help every now and again, and that there are others who need not only our, but professional help as well.