World Mental Health Day 2020: History, significance and theme

New Delhi (NVI): Mental health is one of the most neglected areas of public health, around 1 billion people are living with a mental disorder but only few have access to quality mental-health care, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

On October 10, World Mental Health Day is observed every year across the globe for mental health education, awareness, advocacy against the social stigma that is often attached to it.

The main aim of such a day is to help people come out and talk about any mental health issues they might be suffering from.

This year, World Mental Health Day theme is related to the need for investment in mental health. According to the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), the World Mental Health Day theme for year 2020 is “Mental Health for All: Greater Investment – Greater Access.”

The theme is self explanatory. There is a need of more and more psychological support, investing in mental health programmes and reducing the prevalence of death owing to mental health conditions.

Moreover, the World Health Organisation said, a good mental health has been of utmost importance to live a quality life. But, now, due to the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, it has become urgency to highlight the significance of mental health and increase investment in chronically underfunded sectors.

Nearly, 3 million people die every year from the harmful use of alcohol and one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide. And now, billions of people around the world have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a further impact on people’s mental health.

During this hard time, “Bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones,” the WHO said.

COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the cases of alcohol abuse, drug use, insomnia, anxiety, stress, and depression. If not addressed or treated on time, these problems can turn into complications like agitation, heart attack and even death.

The pandemic has also affected and interrupted the essential mental health services across the globe at a time when they were needed the most.

World Mental Health Day day was first observed in 1992 when the World Federation for Mental Health’s Deputy Secretary-General Richard Hunter felt the need to raise the topic in everyone’s life.

However, there was no theme given to the day until 1994. In that year, the theme was “Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World.”