Embracing Mental Wellness: Celebrating World Mental Health Day 2023
October 10th, 2023, is World Mental Health Day. It is a big deal, but don’t forget that mental health care should be a priority every other day of the year too. Our mental health influences our thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and overall quality of life. It affects our relationships, our careers, and even our physical health.
Mental illness affects a significant portion of the global population. In our fast-paced, modern world, it’s easy to overlook the significance of our mental health. As a psychotherapist, I know that maintaining our mental well-being is essential for living our lives to our fullest potential.
I have witnessed the transformative power of addressing mental health issues. I stand here to advocate and shed light on the importance of WMHD. In this article I will discuss:
- Explanation of World Mental Health Day
- The Importance Of Addressing Mental Health
- Exploring the History of Mental Health Advocacy of WMHD
- Exploring The Spectrum Of Mental Health
- Promoting Mental Wellness
- Seeking Professional Help When Needed
- Practical Tips From My Toolkit For Celebrating This World Mental Health Day
Explanation of World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day serves as a powerful reminder of the significance of mental well-being in our lives. Observed globally on October 10th every year, World Mental Health Day provides a valuable opportunity to bring awareness of mental health and come together in advocacy for mental health care as a universal human right.
The overall objective of WMHD is raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. This day provides an opportunity for stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their extremely important work, bring awareness of mental health, and advocate for what more needs to be done to make mental health care a universal human right for people worldwide.
The Importance of Addressing Mental Health
Our mental health influences our thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and overall quality of life. It affects our relationships, our careers, and even our physical health. Ignoring mental health concerns can lead to a flood of issues, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse and addiction, and even physical ailments like heart disease and chronic pain.
Embracing the importance of mental health means acknowledging that mental illnesses are not a sign of weakness, but a common human experience. Just as we care for our physical health by eating well and exercising, we must actively nurture our mental health. By addressing mental health, we can enhance our resilience, increase our ability to cope with life’s challenges, and lead the happy, fulfilling lives we all deserve.
Exploring the History of Mental Health Advocacy of WMHD
The journey towards recognition of the importance of mental health has been long and arduous. In ancient times, mental illness was often attributed to supernatural causes, leading to stigmatization and neglect of those who desperately needed help. Fortunately, progress has been made over the centuries.
The roots of World Mental Health Day can be traced back to the early 1990s when the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) declared October 10th as a day dedicated to raising awareness about mental health issues. Since then, WMHD has evolved into a global observance, with numerous organizations, governments, healthcare professionals, and even individuals uniting to champion mental health.
Historically, people with mental illnesses were frequently ostracized, institutionalized, or subjected to harsh and harmful treatments. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the mental health movement gained momentum, led by pioneers like Dorothea Dix, who fiercely advocated for the humane treatment of people with mental illness in the United States.
In the 20th century, the mental health field made significant transformations, including the evolution of psychotherapy and the widespread acknowledgment of the role genetics and environment play in mental health.
Today, we have a more comprehensive understanding of mental health and prioritize the importance of early intervention, destigmatization of people with mental illness, and providing access to effective healthcare and treatments worldwide. WMHD serves as a reminder of the huge strides we have already made and the work that still lies ahead in our ongoing journey.
Exploring the Spectrum of Mental Health
Your state of well-being will fluctuate over time due to various factors like genetics, environment, and especially life events. The spectrum of mental health is a complex and multifaceted continuum; it encompasses a wide range of emotional and psychological well-being. Let’s briefly explore the spectrum.
- Healthy: At one end of the spectrum, individuals may experience optimal mental health. They usually have a sense of happiness and have the ability to effectively cope with life’s challenges. They maintain positive relationships, manage stress, and generally experience a high quality of life.
- Reacting: Mild to moderate issues like occasional anxiety, stress, nervousness, sadness, procrastination, lower energy, and difficulty sleeping are common experiences that most people face at some point in their lives. These challenges often respond well to self-help strategies, social support, or brief therapeutic interventions.
- Injured: Further along the spectrum, we find more severe and persistent mental health disorders. People experience significant functional impairment such as lingering sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, disturbed sleep, social withdrawal, anger, and anxiety.
- Ill: At the extreme end of the spectrum are crises and emergencies, such as acute suicidal ideation, severe psychosis, or debilitating addiction. Immediate intervention and professional help are essential in these situations to ensure the safety and well-being of the affected individuals.
It is important to know that the spectrum of mental health is not a linear progression, but a complex interplay of factors that can vary from person to person. Mental health is not a static state; a person will move back and forth along the spectrum throughout their lives.
Stigma and lack of access to mental health care often compound the challenges faced by people dealing with mental health issues.
Recognizing this spectrum and promoting open dialogue, education, and early intervention are crucial steps in supporting the mental well-being of individuals and communities.
Promoting Mental Wellness
Self-Care and Its Importance
Start within yourself. On World Mental Health Day, prioritize self-care. Engage in activities that bring you joy, whether it’s:
- Reading a book
- Taking a long bath
- Taking a walk
- Practicing mindfulness meditation
Self-care is so important in building a foundation of good mental health. Never feel bad for taking time to take care of yourself. Your mental health should be a top priority. You can’t expect to support anyone until you learn to support yourself.
Seeking Professional Help When Needed
Conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and severe anxiety disorders can significantly disrupt a person’s life, affecting their thoughts, emotions, behaviors, careers, and their relationships.
These conditions often require more intensive and long-term treatments, including psychotherapy, medication, and support from mental health professionals and loved ones.
If you’re new to managing your mental health conditions or find yourself struggling more than usual, it helps to have a few strategies for pulling yourself out of the downward spiral. The coping skills that work best for you will be different from everyone else because of your unique diagnosis and personality. Try a few of these tools the next time you find yourself struggling, and make a note of which ones seem to work best.
Many people find it helpful to write these tools on notecards and keep them handy on the fridge, in their backpack, or in their car to pull out and reference when they need a mental health boost. You could even use an app to keep this list in your smartphone.
- Visite un grupo de apoyo.
- Llama a un amigo o familiar que te apoye.
- Sal a dar un paseo por la naturaleza.
- Siéntate en la naturaleza si no puedes encontrar la energía para caminar.
- Haz algo de ejercicio y disfruta del aumento de endorfinas.
- Llame a tu terapeuta.
- Get a good night’s sleep – call your medical provider if you need help sleeping.
- Use una aplicación de salud mental como Calm o Headspace para ayudarte a despejar tu mente.
- Tómete un tiempo fuera del trabajo si puedes.
- Give to others – volunteer or just do something nice for a neighbor.
- Practice mindfulness and/or deep breathing.
Practical Tips From My Toolkit for Celebrating This World Mental Health Day
Mental health awareness is finally a global priority. Here are some ideas you can use to celebrate this WMHD.
- Host a community event to create awareness and offer support
- Share mental health awareness and support on social media
- Host a virtual mental health workshop in person or via Zoom
- Practice self-care and encourage others to do the same
- Start a mental health focus book club or discussion group
- Volunteer with a mental health organization or charity
- Encourage employers to provide mental health support for employees
- Advocate for positive mental health changes in your local government
- Reach out to someone you know who may be struggling with their mental health and offer friendship and support
- Start a gratitude journal and encourage others to do the same. Gratitude is such an underrated method to improving mental well-being.
Takeaways and Next Steps
World Mental Health Day is a day of reflection, understanding, and of action. It reminds us of the importance of mental well-being in our lives and highlights the progress we’ve made in mental health advocacy globally. Addressing mental health can create a world where people are empowered to seek help without fear of judgment and where we prioritize nurturing our minds just as we do our bodies. So, this WMHD, take a step towards a healthier, happier you and offer support to those around you. In unity, we find strength in nurturing our minds.Reaching out to a behavioral health specialist can feel overwhelming if you’re struggling with mental health. Our equipo de profesionales calificados en salud mental trata diversas afecciones con empatía y compasión. Cuando te comuniques con nuestra oficina, we’ll match you with the best provider for your needs. You deserve quality mental health care.