Health & Safety

article icon

World Mental Health Day: 10 October 2011

30 September 2011

World Mental Health Day was created by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is supported by the United Nations (UN). It is held annually on 10 October to raise public awareness about mental health issues worldwide.

This year the day will be organised with the help of the World Federation for Mental Health which was founded in 1948 to prevent emotional and mental health disorders and help those who do suffer from them. The Day promotes more open discussion of mental disorders, and investment in prevention and treatment services.

Physical and mental health are intertwined. There is a real need to deal with mental health problems of people with chronic physical illnesses and physical care of mental health consumers through a continued and integrated care. Mental Health refers to a broad array of activities directly or indirectly related to the mental well-being component included in the WHO's definition of health:

"A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease".

It is related to the promotion of well-being, the prevention of mental disorders, and the treatment and rehabilitation of people affected by mental disorders.

Mental disorders affect nearly 12% of the world’s population. WHO statistics show that 154 million people globally suffered from depression, which is a form of mental illness. So it's likely that someone you know will be affected by mental illness during your lifetime. World Mental Health Day aims to get us all talking openly about mental illnesses and the treatment and preventions that are available to us all. Depression is a major mental health problem. World Mental Health Day promotes the awareness of such issues.

The 2010 WHO report on mental health and development was a call to action to all development stakeholders - governments, civil society, multilateral agencies, bilateral agencies, global partnerships, private foundations, academic and research institutions - to focus their attention on mental health. The report presented compelling evidence that persons with mental and psychosocial disabilities are a vulnerable group but continue to be marginalized in terms of development aid and Government attention.