World Mental Health Day is celebrated every year on the 10th of October. This year with a focus on Covid. It has been more than one and a half years since the Coronavirus came into our lives and changed them. If not forever, at least for the time being. Little did we know when the pandemic started how much it would affect our daily lives and how much it would affect the mental health of so many people. Depending on where in the world we live and how we live. In a city or the countryside, alone or together with others, the last almost two years have affected us all differently and sometimes in a way we never thought. Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality is the slogan for this year’s World Mental Health Day. Let’s contribute and make it a reality with whatever we as individuals can do. As individuals, we might not be professionals in care, but remember that the little things go a long way.
World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day has an overall objective to raise awareness of mental health issues worldwide and mobilize efforts to support mental health.
Mental health, as the World Health Organization defines it, is: “a state of wellbeing in which the individual realizes his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can make a contribution to his or her community” Source: Wikipedia.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on people’s mental health. Some groups, including health and other frontline workers, students, people living alone, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions, have been particularly affected. And services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders have been significantly disrupted.
However, there is cause for optimism. During the World Health Assembly in May 2021, governments worldwide recognized the need to scale up quality mental health services at all levels. And some countries have found new ways of providing mental health care to their populations. Source: WHO
World Mental Health Day is here to remind us of some of the essential things in life. Wellbeing and caring for the ones that we love.
The Health Argument – World Mental Health Day
Did you know that close to one billion people have a mental disorder, and anyone, anywhere, can be affected? And that it is estimated that 5% of the adults in the world suffer from depression?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns about mental health and substance use have grown, including fears of suicidal ideation. In January 2021, 41% of adults reported anxiety and depressive disorder symptoms, a share that has been relatively stable since spring 2020. In a survey from June 2020, 13% of adults reported new or increased substance use due to coronavirus-related stress, and 11% of adults reported thoughts of suicide in the past 30 days.
Suicide rates have long been on the rise and may have worsened due to the pandemic. Early 2020 data show that drug overdose deaths were particularly pronounced from March to May 2020, coinciding with the start of pandemic-related lockdowns. Source: KFF.org
Other shocking facts:
- One in every 100 deaths is by suicide. It is the fourth leading cause of death for young people aged 15-29 years.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact on people’s mental health.
- Despite the universal nature and the magnitude of mental ill-health, the gap between demand for mental health services and supply remains substantial.
- Relatively few people around the world have access to quality mental health services.
- Stigma, discrimination and human rights abuses of people with mental health conditions remain widespread.
- The lost productivity resulting from depression and anxiety, two of the most common mental disorders, costs the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year.
- On average, countries spend just 2% of their national health budgets on mental health. This has changed little in recent years. Source: WHO
World Mental Health Day is here to remind us about the challenges that many of us have. Especially during this point in time. And to encourage us to do that little extra for the ones that need it. We all want to stay healthy, mentally and physically, and the pandemic has been a challenging time for all of us. So let’s make a difference this year.
How do we Stay Healthy Mentally?
If you look at the advice about what to do to stay healthy mentally, the first thing that comes up is; Be sociable and spend time with the ones you love. One of the things that we have not been able to do during the pandemic. Another important thing on the list is to be out, get some sunshine and exercise. This is again something that many of us have not been able to get. Keeping this in mind, it might not be so strange that many surveys show a decrease in mental health since the pandemic started.
Some of the things that we can do to feel better mentally are:
- First, get plenty of sleep – Sleep is crucial for both our physical and mental health. Sleep helps to regulate chemicals in our brain, and if we do not get enough sleep, we can feel depressed or anxious.
- Eat well – Eating well isn’t just crucial for our bodies, but it’s also vital for our minds.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking – they can cause some which impact your mental health.
- Get plenty of sunlight – Sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for our bodies and brains.
- Manage stress – Knowing what triggers your anxiety and coping is critical in maintaining good mental health.
- Be active and exercise – Activity and exercise are essential in maintaining good mental health.
- Do something you enjoy – Make time for yourself and the things you enjoy doing.
- Connect with others and be sociable – If not in person, talk over the phone, Whatsapp, Facetime, or whatever tool you prefer.
- Do things for others – Helping others isn’t just suitable for the people you are helping; it’s good for you too. Source: PeopleFirstInfo.org
The things listed above are not expensive activities. They are free! We just have to get into the habit of doing them. And remember, doing something that you enjoy or doing things for others can make a huge difference, both in your life and their lives.
Healthy Mind – Healthy Body – Healthy Skin
Have you noticed how your overall wellbeing affects the skin? And vice versa. If you look yourself into the mirror in the morning and see a tired, gloomy face, you automatically tend to feel more down that day. And if you are not well with yourself or with others, that tends to be seen on your skin as well. The way we think and feel can also have an impact on our skin. For example, when we are stressed, our body can release cortisol, which affects our health. Ted A. Grossbart, PhD, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston and author of SkinDeep, a Mind and Body Program for Healthy Skin, says there is a connection between the mind and the skin. So if the reason can affect the skin, can a bad skin day also affect our mood?
What makes us feel good is individual. And so are the things that affect our wellbeing and the way we think. And I can only talk for myself, the tricks that I have when the world feels overwhelming, the pressure is too high, and I am not well with myself. These feelings usually, for me at least, start with not sleeping well. And sleep is one one the most important things for us human beings to feel well. The mornings after an insufficient sleep when I wake up, and I feel like I have been run over by a truck ( that feeling when you have not slept well) and when I do not like the look of my face in the mirror and the day is starting on a wrong foot…So, my trick is that I take my time in the morning and do my SQOOM Treatment. It does not take more than ten minutes of my time, and I feel much brighter and ready to meet the world! My face is relaxed, I look better, and with that, I immediately feel better. This is my way to save my day and save my mood. Some of my friends do yoga, others run, and some read a book or just go for a walk. We all have different ways to do things that make us feel better and more at ease.
This year on World Mental Health Day, let’s try to remember to do the small things for the ones we love. Give them a phone call, visit them, just remember them and show them that you like them. Sometimes it is the small things in life that can make a big difference for another person.