October 10th is World Mental Health Day. The goal of this day is to increase awareness of mental health issues worldwide and to activate efforts in support of mental health. It offers a chance for all contributors working on mental health issues to talk about their work and how much more should be done to make mental health care a reality for people around the world.
Celebrate a Universal Human Right
The theme for World Mental Health Day this year is “Mental health is a universal human right.” The objective is to:
- Improve knowledge
- Increase awareness
- Prompt action to protect and promote everyone’s mental health as a universal human right.
Mental health is a basic human right for everyone. Wherever and whoever they are, everybody has a right to the highest attainable level of mental health. This includes:
- The right to protection from mental health risks
- The right to accessible, acceptable, available, and good-quality care
- The right to independence, liberty, and inclusion in the community
Why Should We Celebrate World Mental Health Day?
World Mental Health Day (WMHD) is an essential way to increase public understanding of mental health and how mental health problems can be prevented. After years of being hidden away, ignored, and not being talked about, WMHD ensures that mental health stays at the center of the public dialogue.
History of World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day was created to help decrease the stigma surrounding mental health issues by educating the general public about mental health. It was first celebrated in 1992 but a theme was first added in 1994. Ever since there has been a specific theme to go with the day.
WMHD is the result of a worldwide advocacy and awareness program begun by the World Federation for Mental Health which was founded in London, in 1948. The Federation has been engaged in advocacy and education to change attitudes about mental illness for 62 years. Each year, on October 10, thousands of people and groups will gather to promote and celebrate the only global day for mental health awareness.
Mental Health Facts You Should Know
Every year, millions of people are affected by mental illness. And, across this country, a lot of people just like you work, create, compete, perform, laugh, love, and inspire every day while struggling with their mental health. Here are some facts to consider:
- In 2021, 22.8% of adults in the U.S. experienced mental illness. 57.8 million people or 1 in 5.
- 5% experienced serious mental illness. This amounts to 14.1 million people or 1 in 20 adults.
- 6% of adults experienced a co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD) and mental illness. That’s 19.4 million people.
- Although there are known and effective treatments for mental disorders, more than 75% of people in low- and middle-income countries don’t receive any treatment.
- Roadblocks to effective care include:
- Little investment in mental health care
- Lack of trained mental healthcare providers
- Social prejudice associated with mental disorders
Having a mental illness can make everyday life challenging to maintain recovery. Besides the individual, these challenges ripple out through the families, communities, and the world.
- Individuals with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing metabolic and cardiovascular diseases than the population in general. People with serious mental illness are almost two times as likely to develop these conditions.
- In 2021 it was reported that 33.5% of adults in the U.S. with mental illness also have a substance use disorder.
- The unemployment rate is higher among U.S. adults who have a mental illness (7.4%) compared to those who don’t (4.6%).
- High school students with notable symptoms of depression are more than two times as likely to drop out compared to other students.
- 4 million or more people in the U.S. are caregivers to an adult with an emotional or mental health issue.
- These caregivers spend an average of 32 hours a week providing unpaid care.
- Of homeless people in the U.S., 21.1% have a serious mental health condition.
- Among people under age 18 in the U.S., depressive disorders are the most common cause of hospitalization (not counting hospitalization related to pregnancy and birth).
- Among people aged 18 to 44 in the U.S., psychosis spectrum and mood disorders are responsible for almost 600,000 hospitalizations every year.
- In 2020, 19.7% of U.S. Veterans experienced a mental illness (3.9 million people).
- In 2021, 9.6% of Active service members experienced a mental health or substance use disorder.
- Serious mental illness causes $193.2 billion in lost earnings across the U.S. economy each year.
- Anxiety disorders and depression cost $1 trillion in lost productivity to the global economy each year.
- Worldwide, depression is a leading cause of disability.
- Depression is a common mental disorder. About 3.8% of the population experience depression. This includes 5% of adults and 5.7% of adults over 60 years old.
- Worldwide, about 280 million people experience depression.
- More women suffer from depression than men. It’s about 50% more common in women.
- Globally, more than 10% of women who have just given birth and pregnant women experience depression.
- Depression may lead to suicide. More than 700,000 people die because of suicide every year. Among 15 to 29-year-olds, it is the 4th leading cause of death.
- Treatment is available for mild, moderate, and even severe depression.
Importance of Mental Health Awareness
Good mental health is essential to our general overall health and well-being. Still, 1 in 8 people are living with mental health conditions that can affect their physical health, their well-being, how they connect with others, and their livelihoods.
Mental health issues are also affecting adolescents and young people in increasing numbers. Having a mental health condition should never be a reason to keep someone from their human rights or prevent them from making decisions about their health.
But, all over the world, individuals with mental health conditions still experience a wide range of violations of their human rights. Many are still barred from community life and discriminated against. Many more can’t access the mental health care they need or can only get care that violates their human rights. World Mental Health Day is important because it raises global awareness about mental health, educates people, and helps people find resources for help.
Reasons Why WMHD is Important
There are many reasons WMHD is important, such as:
- Normalizing mental health issues can help reduce the stigma about them. A lot of people still experience shame about going to therapy or talking about their feelings.
- This type of campaign can encourage people to take care of their mental health. By educating the public about mental health issues and the warning signs, we can help keep people safe. When people are aware, they can handle important conversations with the people around them. In addition, they can recognize when they or someone close to them needs professional help.
- By increasing the awareness around mental health issues, it also helps people who suffer from these issues to feel less alone. By their very nature, most mental illnesses are isolating. When the truth about them is shared, many people are helped to feel less ashamed and alone.
- WMHD also advocates for countries to allocate more of their budget to mental health resources. This is particularly important for low-income countries with minimal access to treatment.
- Mental health disorders can reach a crisis level without raising awareness and reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and getting treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that “there is no health without mental health.”
15 Common Warning Signs of a Mental Illness
It isn’t always easy to tell the difference between what accepted behaviors are and what might be signs of a mental illness or even signs that someone might need alcohol rehab. There’s no easy test to know if there is a mental illness or if a person’s actions and thoughts might be their typical behaviors or the result of a physical illness. Each illness displays its symptoms, but there are some common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents that may include:
- Exaggerated fear or worrying
- Feeling extremely sad or low
- Problems concentrating or learning or confused thinking
- Severe mood changes including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of extreme happiness
- Strong or extended feelings of anger or irritability
- Avoiding social activities and seeing friends
- Problems understanding or having relationships with other people
- Changes in sleeping patterns or feeling fatigued and low energy
- Changes in eating habits such as loss of appetite or increased hunger
- Changes in sex drive
- Problems recognizing reality such as delusions or hallucinations
- Lack of ability to recognize changes in their feelings, behavior, or personality
- Overuse of alcohol or drugs
- Suicidal thoughts
- Intense fear of gaining weight or worries about their appearance.
6 Warning Signs in Children
Mental health problems can also begin to appear in young children. Their most obvious symptoms are behavioral since they’re still learning how to identify and talk about emotions and thoughts. Symptoms may include:
- School performance changes
- Extreme anxiety or worry, like fighting to avoid going to bed or school
- Hyperactive behavior
- Recurrent nightmares
- Habitual aggression or disobedience
- Persistent temper tantrums
Ways You Can Celebrate World Mental Health Day
Now you know more about WMHD and the reason for it, you may want to know how you can take part. There are several ways to participate and advocate for better mental health access everywhere. Here are some World Mental Health Day activities:
- Consider volunteering at a local crisis center or donating to one in your area.
- Check-in on a loved one or friend who has been struggling with mental illness. Offer to bring dinner, help them with housecleaning, do a task that might be difficult for them right now, or just spend time and listen.
- Post on social media.
- Get involved by educating yourself on mental illnesses by:
- reading a book,
- watch a documentary,
- Share your story if you have experienced mental illness yourself, or
- take time to care for your mental health.
- Participate in WMHD events in your community.
You Can Find Help at Eagle Creek Recovery Ranch
A bearded man is meditating outdoor in the park with face raised up to sky and eyes closed on sunny summer day. Concept of meditation, dreaming, wellbeing and healthy lifestyleDon’t be afraid to reach out if you or someone you care about is suffering from a mental illness such as depression or substance use disorder. It is estimated that one-third of all people with clinical depression take part in substance use as a way to medicate themselves to relieve their feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, and despair. Sadly, this is true of several other mental conditions as well.
Eagle Creek Ranch in Nampa, ID, is experienced in treating these co-occurring conditions of substance use disorder and mental disorders. We have a special dual diagnosis treatment program to address this issue. In addition, Eagle Creek has residential and outpatient treatment programs and a detox center to safely detox from substance abuse.
Our therapy programs include the gold standard in substance use disorder treatment–behavioral therapies such as:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Our licensed therapists are also trained and experienced in group, individual, and family therapies. You can get help without embarrassment. You can get better and live your life without struggling. Contact us today.
Kendall Maloof is the clinical director at Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and has held multiple leadership roles before settling here at Eagle Creek. Kendall received her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2016. Her career in mental and behavioral health began in 2014 when she took up internships in both the nonprofit and for profit sectors. She interned at multiple reputable companies, such as The Living Success Center and 449 Recovery in California.
In 2019, Kendall became the clinical director of Sunsets Recovery for Woman, a dual diagnosis program in southern California. Kendall is a natural leader. She has an incredible ability to problem solve and stay calm in any situation. Kendall never fails to show up when she is needed, and her calm demeanor makes her team and clients feel at ease. Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery is proud to have Kendall as our clinical director.