World Mental Health Day: Creating Mental Health Awareness and Making Services accessible to all
10 October is observed as World Mental Health day every year to Promote, Protect and Restore Mental health of all. The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated a mental health challenge and also highlighted our inadequate awareness and preparedness for tackling mental health problems on a large scale.
WHO has adopted an action plan for countries to follow and help reduce the Mental Health morbidities by 2030. But before that let us first understand more about Mental Health.
Some important facts about Mental Health
- Mental health is essential to our well-being and has both intrinsic and practical importance.
- Today we have many practical and affordable methods for promoting, preserving, and restoring mental health.
- The pandemic has shown us that more must be done to address mental health issues.
What is Good Mental health?
Mental health is a condition of mental wellness that enables people to manage life’s stressors, develop their full potential, study and work effectively, and give back to their communities. It is a crucial element of health and well-being that supports both our individual and group capacity to decide, form connections, and influence the world we live in.
On World Mental Health Day, we need to emphasize that Access to mental health is a core human right.
Additionally, it is essential for socioeconomic, communal, and personal development.
The absence of mental diseases is only one aspect of mental wellness. It has variable degrees of difficulty and suffering, is experienced differently by each individual, and may have very different social and therapeutic implications. It exists on a complex continuum.
Mental health issues include psychosocial issues and mental problems.
What Determines our Mental Health?
A complex combination of personal, social, and structural stresses and vulnerabilities determines mental health.
Individual psychological and biological factors such as emotional skills, substance use and genetics can make people more vulnerable to mental health problems.
People may be more susceptible to mental health issues due to personal psychological and biological characteristics like emotional intelligence, substance use, and heredity.
Risks can appear at any stage of life, but those that happen during the vulnerable early childhood, are most harmful. For instance, Physical punishment and strict parenting may harm a child’s health.
Similar protective factors persist throughout our lives and help us be more resilient. Our own social and emotional abilities, as well as favorable social interactions, high-quality education, and suitable housing, are among them.
People are more likely to develop mental health issues exposed to unfavorable social, economic, geopolitical, and environmental conditions, such as poverty, violence, inequality, and environmental squalor.
Economic downturns, disease outbreaks, humanitarian crises, forced displacement, and the escalating climate disaster are just a few of the global challenges that increase risk for entire communities.
Although the above risk factors increase the likelihood of certain people developing a mental health illness, many persons with no risk factors still develop mental health issues. Nevertheless, the interrelated factors that affect mental health can either improve it or make it worse.
Mental health promotion and prevention
Promotion and prevention interventions work by identifying the individual, social and structural determinants of mental health, and then intervening to reduce risks, build resilience and establish supportive environments for mental health. Interventions need to be designed for individuals, specific groups or whole populations.
Key Areas of focus to Promote Mental Health
Working upon the determinants of mental health requires action beyond the health sector. Therefore promotion and prevention programs should involve the education, labor, justice, transport, environment, housing, and welfare sectors.
The Health Sector
The health sector can contribute significantly by encouraging promotion and prevention efforts within health services; and by advocating, initiating and, where appropriate, facilitating multisectoral collaboration and coordination.
Suicide prevention is a global priority and included in the Sustainable Development Goals. We can significantly reduce the number of suicides by
1.Limiting access to the means of committing suicide, banning highly hazardous pesticides is a particularly inexpensive and cost–effective intervention for reducing suicide rates. Sale of drugs that can be lethal in large doses , should be strictly with physicians prescription only.
2.Responsible media reporting of suicides, neither sensationalizing , nor going into too many details of the methods used.
3.Social and emotional learning in schools for adolescents and early intervention.
Child and Adolescents Mental Health
Bullying , Familial discords , parental substance abuse, and sexual abuse majorly affect mental health in children. By adopting policies and laws that promote and protect mental health of children and adolescents can promote their mental health. Laws that provide support for caregivers can improve the nurture of children. Implementing school-based programs and improving the quality of community and online environments. School-based social and emotional learning programs are among the most effective promotion strategies for countries at all income levels.
Mental Health at Work Place
Promoting and protecting mental health at work is a growing concern. Companies can achieve this through manager training , sensitization of staff and interventions for workers. Organizational strategies that recognize and promote mental health like heath insurance for employees to seek mental heath consultations and care, removing stigma at work place about mental health and creating a supportive environment at work where an employee is able to say – I am not OK and not get penalized for it. Accenture has already done this, time for others to follow suite.
The Governments have the most important role for bringing in regulations and ensuring checklists to promote Mental Health. World Mental Health day is a great opportunity for introducing and implementing the following:
1.Legislations and regulations that recognize the need for leaves and mental health insurance for employees
2.Every secondary school to have counselors based on the number of students and periodic and regular talks in classes.
3.Marital laws should look into more refined definitions of sound mental health , when contesting for divorce or settlement of property etc. based on grounds of poor mental health.
4.Mental Health care for the common public and communities at primary health centers. Community-based mental health care is more accessible and acceptable than institutional care and should be promoted aggressively.
5.More educational institutions and health institutions to cater to the expanding needs of the population
For people with existing Mental Health conditions
Other than Mental Health Prevention and Awareness, we also need to address the needs of people with mental health conditions.
1. Legislation to prevent human rights violations.
2. Accessible mental health care at community health programs , mental health services that are integrated in general health care ,community mental health services that may involve community mental health centers and teams, psychosocial rehabilitation, peer support services and supported living services; and
3. Services that deliver mental health care in social services and non-health settings, such as child protection, assisted living and school health services, and prisons.
Only by protecting and promoting human rights, empowering people with lived experience and ensuring a multisectoral and multi-stakeholder approach can we ensure a positive Mental Health for all.
” This post is a part of Blogchatter’s initiative #CauseAChatter “
(Images designed on Canva)
Please comment below to share your suggestions to improve the Mental Health at Work or in Society.