World Mental Health Day raises public awareness about mental health issues. The day promotes open discussion of mental disorders, and investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services. This year the theme for the day is “Depression: A Global Crisis”.
This day, and each day the 10th of October thousands worldwide celebrate this annual awareness program to bring attention to Mental Illness and its major effects on peoples’ life worldwide.
The overall aim of the field of global mental health is to strengthen mental health all over the world by providing information about the mental health situation in all countries, and identifying mental health care needs in order to develop cost-effective interventions to meet those specific needs.
Today Nzema Youth Association joins the nation Ghana and the rest of the world in observing World Mental Health Day under the theme “Depression: a Global Crisis”.
Depression is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease and affects people in all communities across the world, including Ghana. Today, depression is estimated to affect 350 million people.
The World Mental Health Survey conducted in 17 countries found that on average about 1 in 20 people reported having an episode of depression in the previous year. Depressive disorders often start at a young age; they reduce people’s functioning and often are recurring. For these reasons, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide in terms of total years lost due to disability.
The demand for curbing depression and other mental health conditions is on the rise globally. A recent World Health Assembly called on the World Health Organization and its member states to take action in this direction (WHO, 2012).
World Mental Health Day was established in 1992 thanks to the work of Richard (Dick) Hunter, the Deputy Secretary General of the World Federation for Mental Health.
After a period of planning, the Federation proclaimed 10 October as World Mental Health Day and Dick looked for ways to build support for it. The World Health Organization agreed to become a co-sponsor, and the project was also supported by the Carter Center when former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter agreed to become honorary chair of the event.
The immediate goal of the project was to draw attention to mental health as a cause common to all people across national, cultural, political and socioeconomic boundaries. The longer term goal was to establish parity for mental health with physical health in national health priorities and services.
Looking back over general trends in the field in the past two decades, it is clear that there have been substantial changes in the place of mental health at global, national and local levels. High quality epidemiological research has helped quantify the extent and impact of mental health disorders on individuals, families and societies.
They are now ranked at or near the top of public health challenges and priorities by the World Health Organization and an increasing number of its member states. There have been advances in human rights, reduction of stigma, and empowerment of service users. To a growing extent, the large asylums and mental hospitals of past ages are being replaced by community mental health and support services.
Speaking to the President of the Nzema Youth Association, Mr. Kingsley Blay he advised encouraged anyone who is experiencing a mental health issue, whether it is drug abuse, anxiety, depression, sleeping or an eating disorder to discuss it with competent people and ask for help immediately.
Increasingly, mental health services are becoming stronger and better integrated into primary health settings. Treatments are becoming more effective and readily available.
World Mental Health Day remains an important vehicle to advance mental health objectives worldwide.