Every year on October 10th, The World Federation for Mental Health sponsors World Mental Health Day (WMHD).
It’s an annual occasion dedicated to raising global awareness about mental health issues and identifying gaps in existing mental health support around the world.
World Mental Health Day is a fantastic opportunity to shine a light on the mental health challenges and realities that so many of us face every day.
Conveniently falling on the last day of Mental Illness Awareness Week, WMHD provides another platform to empower those struggling with mental health issues to speak up and be heard.
The unique thing about WMHD is that it’s very much action-based. Each year, the World Federation for Mental Health sets a goal to actively address current obstacles that stand in the way of the widespread treatment and acceptance of mental health.
After being in the behavioral health space for two decades, we know firsthand how slow and laborious changes in this industry can be. A concerted, global effort like WMHD is one of the best ways to make lasting, substantive change so that everyone living with mental health needs can do so with support and dignity.
World Mental Health Day: Investing in Mental Health
In the spirit of real change, this year’s WMHD is focusing on advocating for and securing increased investment in mental health.
2020 in particular has put into perspective just how underfunded and underdeveloped the global mental health treatment infrastructure is.
As many of you may know, the historically underfunded mental health environment was already overwhelmed by the demand for mental health care before COVID-19.
Of course, COVID-19 only exacerbated the situation. We’ve previously discussed how uniquely stressful this pandemic is, and how it poses a variety of potent mental health challenges.
As a result, the global healthcare system was woefully unprepared to meet the vast, unprecedented need for mental health services during the pandemic.
COVID-19 Silver Lining
The one positive takeaway from all of this is that the pandemic has actually put mental health at the forefront of our conversations and life experiences.
The fear and uncertainty of life in quarantine from a deadly virus has not only made life more difficult for those of us who had pre-pandemic struggles with mental health. It’s also elicited mental health issues in people who may have never experienced them before.
In this way, the playing field for mental health support and understanding feels a little more even than it once was. Never before has a single force caused the world to reckon with how misunderstood and stigmatized mental health has been for so long.
World Mental Health Day is a great opportunity to win back support and funding for a field that desperately needs those things.
How Do I Participate in World Mental Health Day?
We’ve gathered some resources to help you participate in this important occasion:
- Extensive National Mental Health Day 2020 materials from The World Federation for Mental Health
- Global Mental Health Fest 2020 from the World Federation of Mental Health
- Move for Mental Health: Let’s Invest campaign from the WHO
- The Big Event for Mental Health, a global online advocacy event for mental health hosted by the WHO
Working Towards Real Change in Behavioral Health
We at Sigmund so appreciate the World Federation for Mental Health’s emphasis on making the changes that matter in the mental health space.
If you’ve been in the industry as long as we have, you’ve seen your fair share of flawed care delivery systems.
For a long time, the kind of change that was needed seemed so unattainable. However, a growing number of behavioral health stakeholders are confronting the inefficiencies and gaps in traditional treatment and services and providing solutions.
Our friend, Scott Lloyd of MTM Services, is a leader in this charge for an improved behavioral health environment. If you’ve ever lamented how traditional behavioral health systems don’t optimally serve the patient or provider, his insights will surely resonate with you.
Check out these two articles on Mr. Lloyd and his work: