October 10 is World Mental Health Day, and as our knowledge of mental health advances, so do we. Significant progress has been made in the field of mental health since the World Federation of Mental Health (WFMH) formally instituted the day in the early 1990s. The development of self-awareness and sensitivity has resulted in positive transformations. The linguistic landscape pertaining to mental health has witnessed an evolution, with terms such as “lunatic” and “crazy” being employed with greater restraint and replaced with the recognition that they can inadvertently inflict pain and foster stigma. Although substantial progress has been made, society still has a tremendous amount of room for improvement.
The background of World Mental Health Day
Richard Hunter, the World Federation of Mental Health’s deputy secretary-general at the time, established World Mental Health Day in 1992. Aside from advocating for mental health in general, they lacked a specific objective. Alternately put, it was exceedingly challenging to alter a multitude of detrimental and perilous behaviors that were exacerbating an already precarious circumstance for individuals.
There were numerous mental health problems in the world that were not being treated adequately. There were challenges in obtaining public funding for treatment in France, instances of inhumane treatment reported from New Zealand, and a general lack of understanding regarding the true nature of mental health. The WFMH was cognizant of the fact that global action was required to address a worldwide crisis.
During its initial three years, a two-hour transmission was transmitted worldwide via the satellite of the U.S. information agency. Their studio, situated in Tallahassee, Florida, proved to be an effective means of disseminating their advocacy message on a global scale. They received contributions from Zambia, Chile, England, and Australia, in addition to pre-taped segments from Geneva, Atlanta, and Mexico City in preparation for the broadcast.
1994 marked the inaugural World Mental Health Day with the theme “Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services Worldwide.” Twenty-seven countries submitted feedback reports subsequent to the campaign, while Australia and England conducted national campaigns. In continuation of this upward trend, WFMH board members organized events worldwide in alignment with the day’s expanding recognition among government agencies, organizations, and the general public.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) coordinated the translation of the planning package materials into Spanish, French, Russian, Hindi, Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic, commencing in 1995 and continuing thereafter. Over time, an increasing number of nations became engaged, and as a result, civilians also became more affected, as the concept of mental health became increasingly intertwined with human rights.
Thematic expansion of World Mental Health Day mirrored the progression of time. As topics such as women, children, health, labor, trauma, and suicide entered the discourse, the general populace now possesses a greater understanding of mental health.
5 unexpected facts regarding mental health
In some cultures, mental health issues are attributed to the presence of spirits.
One in every four individuals worldwide will require mental health care at some point in their lifetimes.
Over 43 million Americans are afflicted with mental illness.
Youth depression has increased from 5.9% to 8.2% since 2012.
The majority of Americans do not have access to adequate healthcare.
WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY DATES