World Mental Health Day: 2020 shows us how important mental well-being is

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Mental Health Day
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Being anxious, feeling stressed or feeling depressed is not a sin and it is not uncommon as the World Health Organization (WHO) says that about 1 billion people in the world are living with mental disorders.

This year’s World Mental Health Day encourages you to be educated regarding mental health and eliminate the stigma related to it.

In 2020, the unprecedented global health emergency and lockdown has made a double impact and added the significance of dedicating a day to talk about mental imbalances. It’s an assured thing that the effect of the pandemic is going to stay for a long period on this earth, not just in the economy or our personal lives but on mental health as well.

Mental health for all

Mental health is the most neglected area in the healthcare sector. According to WHO’s report, the countries around the globe only spend nearly 2 percent of their public health budget for mental health. This is precisely why, in 2020, the World Mental Health Day is themed as ‘Mental Health for all, Greater investments – Greater access.’

When it comes to mental health there is a limitation of affordable and quality facilities and with the pandemic, it gets even worse as the entire health service sector has been disrupted. As per reports, about 75 percent of people in middle-income countries with mental, neurological and substance use disorders receive no treatment for their condition at all, which is alarming.

To scale up the investment in mental health facilities and to ensure that nobody is denied from having quality assistance in this particular situation, the WHO along with Global Mental Health and the World Federation for Mental Health has kicked off a campaign, ‘Move for mental health: Let’s invest.’

Mental health in the pandemic times

For the past seven months, the world is holding up to uncertainty due to the pandemic, which is not showing much signs of ceasing soon. The lockdown and movement restrictions associated with the global health emergency have made people restrict themselves into the four walls of their homes.

The constant fear to maintain personal hygiene as well as physical wellbeing and to ensure safety for their loved ones alone increased stress and anxiety in many. Adding to this is the barriers in meeting friends and family, moving around freely and the isolation while being in quarantine, which has left many depressed. The entire global population is in uncertainty due to the downfall of the economy, loss of jobs and emotional distress.

During the past few months, the WHO has been partnering with experts to publish guidance on mental health for health workers, frontline workers, health facilities staff and people of all ages whose lives have changed as a result of the pandemic.

Eliminating the stigma

From historic ages itself, mental health remains stigmatized. Even in this 21st-century mental health is not given equal importance as to a person’s physical health. People are often hesitant to open up about their mental conditions due to the fear that they may have to face discrimination, social ostracization or even a job loss.

But it is heartening to see that with the pandemic things seem to be taking a turn for the better in mental health. People are taking steps to eliminate baseless myths regarding mental health as they try to open up their experience. Many psychiatrists and experts have taken this subject to social media handle to keep the public informed and educated about mental illnesses.

So each day, let’s focus a little more on our mental health, love ourselves and reach out when you feel like things are not going well. Don’t forget to pay a little more attention to the people around you and their mental well-being too. Remind yourselves that mental health is as important, or maybe even more important than physical well-being.