Each year in early October there are 3 important Mental Health Awareness Events:
- Mental Illness Awareness Week – First full week in October
- National Depression Screening Day – Thursday of the first full week in October
- World Mental Health Day – Every year on October 10th
We support these important initiatives to educate and help reduce the stigma of mental health conditions. People living with a mental illness need help and support – not judgment.
Below we outline outline mental health issues, where they stem from, and what we can do to heal ourselves and help our friends and loved ones heal as well.
Mental Illness Awareness Week
Mental Illness Awareness Week was launched in 1949 to tackle the impact of depression and anxiety on society. It’s important that people share their stories of how they healed their mental illness, to encourage and spread hope for others.
Like other areas of the body – the brain and central nervous system (CNS) can become sick too. The same amount of love and care should be offered to people who have a mental illness crisis as those who have other chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Use the Mental Illness Awareness Week Hashtags
Share your story on social media and add #MentalIllnessAwarenessWeek or #MIAW. Using these hashtags will help people find your post and also share it with others.
You can search for any of these hashtags on Twitter, Facebook or various social media channels to find people who are supporting Mental Illness Week. Like, comment, and encourage others to share their message.
Mental illness is one of the leading causes of poor health and disability worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in four, or 450 million people worldwide suffer with a mental illness.
We need to speak up to inspire people to step forward and get the help that they need to heal. Suffering in silence and pretending that we don’t understand only makes matters worse.
The Global Prevalence of Mental Illness
Mental illnesses such as Anxiety, Depression, Substance Abuse, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Bipolar remain under-treated in most international locations.
The United States has the highest rate of Mental illness in the world – with an estimated 26.4% of citizens suffering from a mental illness. Many more people are hesitant to share their story, so the actual number is likely much higher.
Anxiety disorders are the most common ailments the world over. Unfortunately, one more related issue that also prevails throughout the world is the hidden or exposed stigma surrounding these illnesses. Dr. T. Bedirhan Ustun, who carried out a study to expose the global mental health epidemic said:
“People are reluctant to admit that they have mental problems.”
Another researcher in the study said that he thought “higher expectations of success” in the U.S. might be a factor contributing to mental illness. They also revealed the unsettling fact that “substantial proportions of serious cases receive no treatment,” in every country studied.
National Depression Screening Day
The second awareness event that we want to promote is National Depression Screening Day.
National Depression Screening Day is held every year on Thursday of the first full week in October.
With so many people quietly suffering from mental health conditions and struggling to cope on their own, it’s important to share ways that people can get help. National Depression Screening Day is a fantastic initiative that allows people to discretely find out if they might show symptoms of depression.
According to the WHO, globally 300 million people suffer with depression on a daily basis. The fact that depression is treatable and is still the leading cause of disability worldwide should inspire us to take action.
Depression can also lead to substance abuse or suicide if left untreated, and mental health and addiction are often connected. Known as a co-occurring disorder, depression combined with drug or alcohol addiction requires dual diagnosis treatment to find relief and recovery for both disorders.
Becoming educated and finding out if you or a loved one is suffering from depression will help us to take steps to reverse this worldwide epidemic.
Mental Health America (MHA) has a fantastic website with online tests for ten of the most common mental health conditions. The tests can be taken online in a confidential manner. Access the tests here.
Keep in mind, online depression tests should not be interpreted as an actual medical diagnosis, but they can be used as an anonymous and convenient way to perform a self-screening for those who are curious about their symptoms.
Depending on the results, it is always advised to have a proper medical assessment by a qualified doctor to confirm an actual diagnosis.
Depression Signs & Symptoms
Clinical depression comes in many forms. Doctors note that these forms are sometimes classified according to three levels of severity as to how they impact day-to-day life. The three depression levels of severity are as follows:
- Mild Depression – Some impact on day-to-day life
- Moderate Depression – Serious impact on day-to-day life
- Severe Depression – Debilitating
7 Typical Signs of Depression
Depression can build over time and be hard to spot, leaving many struggling to cope with day-to-day life.
Here are seven typical signs that could indicate that a person is suffering with depression:
- Lack of interest in hobbies, work or social life
- Slow movement, speech or loss of energy
- Loss of interest in sex
- Change in weight – either up or down
- Feeling worried, helpless, guilty or tearful
- Having thoughts about suicide or self-harm
- Continuous sadness or low mood
World Mental Health Day – October 10
World Mental Health Day is a chance to spread awareness and advocate against the current social stigma surrounding mental health.
World Mental Health Day is observed annually on October 10 and is recognized by key players in the international healthcare field, such as the World Federation for Mental Health and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Taking care of our mental health needs to be a global priority and mental wellbeing should not be something that we shy away from.
Most of us understand the importance of taking care of our physical health, but for some reason mental health is often overlooked, and it is every bit as important to our overall wellbeing. To live a great life, we need to take care of both our physical and mental health together.
October is a time to observe Mental Illness Awareness Week, National Depression Screening Day, and World Mental Health Day to:
- Educate ourselves and others about the importance of mental health
- Reduce the stigma so people will seek help when necessary
- Perform a depression screening to detect possible problems before they further develop.
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