Mental health is a state of well-being when a person can cope with the normal stresses of life and work productively for the betterment of family, society or community. Mental health is associated with many factors like biological, social, economic, environmental etc.
These social and economic factors also contribute to widening inequalities, and negatively affect the poorer and more marginalized sections of society to a great degree.
Every year Mental Health Day is observed on 10th October to clear the myths associated with the occurrence of psychiatric disorders and the stigma attached with these patients and families. The objective of celebrating Mental Health Day is to sensitize, prioritize, and focus on important aspects of public mental health. As is the digital divide still existent in the developing world in this modern age so is the inequality as far as mental health is concerned.
This year’s theme ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’ is chosen keeping in mind these issues faced by the community as the world is increasingly polarized, with the very wealthy becoming wealthier, and the number of people living in poverty still far too high.
As we all are aware of the fact that COVID-19 pandemic has triggered global crises and this crisis has impacted every sphere of our life like health, social, economic, education etc. As we know that mental health issues are being ignored and not prioritized but the psychological consequences of COVID-19 pandemic worldwide started drawing attention not only to physical illnesses but also to mental health issues.
No doubt pandemic has polarized the world and created an unequal world which means that people who are rich have access to the healthcare services easily but poor people have financial constraints which means less access to health care services, especially mental health.
Inequality exists everywhere among gender, race, region, among nations or internationally and particularly in the developing world. Inequality has a significant impact on mental health as it increases the likelihood of people becoming mentally ill, affects the quality of care they receive, worsen existing mental health conditions, and make recovery harder.
As per recent research 75% to 95% of people with mental disorders in low-income and middle-income countries are unable to access mental health services.
Another factor related to this inequality is lack of investment in mental health which contributes to the mental health treatment gap. Previous studies have found that the treatment gap for mental health before the pandemic was up to 80% but now it has widened more.
After COVID-19 pandemic people have become more conscious regarding their physical health which is important but there is a need to talk about mental health as well as lockdowns, social distancing as the pandemic itself has caused serious mental health issues worldwide.
Mental health issues have started becoming a global concern as it has affected everyone irrespective of age, gender, race, region, and especially those already suffering from physical or mental illnesses.
Non availability of medication and inaccessibility of treatment for mentally ill persons has caused relapse in most of the patients. Poor people have faced higher level stress due to lockdown and in order to access healthcare facilities they have to pay and therefore they become poorer which again creates inequality.
It is not only treatment gap but another barrier which is affecting persons with mental illnesses, is the stigma and discrimination. Stigma and discrimination affect their opportunities in education, job prospects, and also affects their families and loved ones.
World Mental Health Day is an invitation to:
? World where mental health is a priority for all people.
? Aware and advocate against social stigma.
? Discuss on best practices for promoting mental health in the school, home, and workplace.
? Congratulations to those who have or are overcoming mental health challenges.
? Strengthen those who live in silence for fear of being discovered, misunderstood, or deprived of essential care.
Why is world mental health day important?
The importance of mental health day is to increase awareness among people.
? To identify the problem related to mental health.
? To share their problems and pain.
? To shorten the treatment gap and get the proper treatment.
? To become aware of the accessibility of mental health services.
? To Reducing, stigma and discrimination.
Raising awareness of the social and economic causes of mental health problems is essential and can have many benefits. In addition to drawing attention, there is a need to address the social and economic determinants of mental health, including inequality, it can also assist individuals who suffer from mental health problems in realizing that some of their problems are rooted in issues over which they have very little control.
How to observe world mental health day
? Volunteer: Volunteer for an organization that supports mental health.
? Educate: Educate yourself, family and community about mental health issues.
? Practice self-care: Prioritizing your health and wellbeing.
? Support loved ones: World Mental Health Day also serves as a reminder to check on our friends and family.
? Awareness: Raise Awareness About Mental Health.
? Check-In with your mental health: Checking in with your mental health is one way to treat yourself this month. Give yourself time to consult with a mental health professional, if you feel a significant change in your normal routine functioning, to help decrease your stress level and prevent burnout.
? Treat Yourself: One of the best things to do on World Mental Health Day is to get involved in prayers, devote yourself to social causes, meditate, work on old hobbies or try new ones, spending a weekend with family, re-watching your favorite series and movies.
? Giving: Many mental health organizations allow you to donate money for their cause without leaving the comfort of your own home.
? Talk to a mental health professional.
? Say no to inequality: The inequality needs to be addressed and everyone has a role to play to address these disparities and ensure that people with experience of mental health problems are fully integrated back in their families, workplaces and society.
The 2021 World Mental Health Day campaign provides an opportunity for us to come together and act together to highlight how inequality can be addressed to ensure people are able to enjoy good mental health.