Established in 1992, World Mental Health Day (WMHD) is celebrated each year on October 10. Its goal is to raise awareness of mental health issues and reduce the stigma associated with them.
Through education efforts by mental health stakeholders across the globe, the internationally recognized day also helps increase the availability and effectiveness of mental health care.
World Mental Health Day was established by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), which was founded in 1948 and today has members in over 90 countries.
Purpose Of World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day unites those working on mental health education and treatment to collaborate and take action for long-term improvements to mental health across the globe.
This includes government bodies, private organizations, and individuals invested in mental health.
This year’s theme is “Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority.”
The theme was chosen because of the negative impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on mental health around the world, which might include long-lasting effects.
Some of the past themes for World Mental Health Day include a focus on the following:
- the effects of trauma and violence on mental health
- mental health and aging (learn about addiction in the elderly population)
- women and mental health (learn about the causes of substance abuse in women)
- mental health promotion and suicide prevention
- the relationship between mental and physical health
- young people and mental health
- scaling up services through advocacy and action
- living with schizophrenia
- dignity in mental health
Mental Health Awareness Statistics
Mental illness and addiction also called substance use disorder (SUD), often go hand-in-hand. More than 25% of adults experiencing serious mental health problems also have a substance use problem.
About half of all of those diagnosed with a mental illness will experience a SUD at some time in their lives.
Here are some additional statistics on mental health and addiction:
- For adolescents, over 60% of those in recent community-based SUD treatment programs also have another mental illness.
- In 2020, about one in five American adults was living with a mental illness.
- In 2020, more females (25.8%) than males (15.8%) had a mental illness.
- In 2020, adults in the lowest age bracket, 18 to 25, experienced the highest rates of mental illness (30.6%), while those in the highest age bracket, 50-plus, experienced the lowest rates (14.5%).
How To Get Involved In World Mental Health Day
Some people with mental illness might choose to share their experiences with others, which can help build support and reduce the stigma associated with mental health conditions.
If you feel comfortable, you can start by sharing your experience with mental illness online, in a local community group, with your family, or with a group of friends.
Some people might be intimidated by public sharing. If it’s more fitting for you, having a one-on-one conversation with a friend or loved one can be a great starting point.
The key is to open up a dialogue, however that looks for you.
The World Health Organization also lists events for the day each year on its website, as does the WFMH itself. Look for events happening near you to find ways to get involved.
Resources For World Mental Health Day
There are many resources available on World Mental Health Day, and every day, for people living with mental illness. WMHD’s own 2022 Toolkit is a great place to get started.
Some of the following resources provide a focus on co-occurring addiction and mental illness:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): National Helpline
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 2 to 8)
- World Health Organization (WHO): World Mental Health Day 2022
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Help for Mental Illnesses