It’s October 10th, which means that once again it’s World Mental Health Day! Now I’ve written about World Mental Health Day before (twice, actually), so there is a lot that’s been said about not only recognizing the importance of mental health but seeking out ways to be as mentally healthy as possible. World Mental Health Day also takes place during Mental Illness Awareness Week, putting an added focus on being aware of how pervasive mental illness is in today’s world.
Something I appreciate about this day is that there’s a different theme every single year, giving us something specific to focus on. It’s a very good reflection of the complexities and nuances of mental health. In 2017, the focus was on mental health in the workplace; last year, the theme was ‘young people and mental health in a changing world.’
This year, the theme is ‘Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention.’ Now, I’ve written about suicide prevention before. In fact, we just finished an entire month where that’s kind of all I talked about. I don’t want to tell you the same things I’ve been telling you all last month (even though I could, and it wouldn’t get any less important), but I do want to stress that suicide is a global public health program. And that’s not me saying it, but the World Foundation of Mental Health.
By saying it’s a global public health program, that means we’re acknowledging that a subject that has been taboo for a very long time. We’re putting it in the spotlight and not ignoring it. By making it part of a public health conversation, we’re pushing our governments and other organizations to make suicide prevention, and to another extent mental health initiatives, a priority. Things can’t change if we don’t prioritize suicide prevention – because when suicide rates go down, that can only mean good things for the mental health movement.
And yes, today is a global day. So no matter what country you’re reading this from or what nationality you are, there is a part for you to play in the mental health movement. We need all the help we can get if we want to make this world a better place, and that includes helping reduce the stigma and bringing awareness to the topic of mental health.