World Mental Health Day Sunday 10 October 2021 – Theme ‘Mental Health In An Unequal World’:
The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH)
The WFMH has announced World Mental Health Day 2021 will take place on Sunday 10 October. The theme for this year is: ’Mental Health in an Unequal World’.
Each year, on 10 October, World Mental Health Day aims to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health. Please give it your full support across the CWU.
Greater Investment – Greater Access
At a time when the world has been confronted by the unprecedented mental health consequences and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on billions of people, the WFMH is using the day as a focal point to call for the urgent redress and investment in mental health and to rebalance the mental health inequalities that exist – a call which they say can no longer be ignored. Now more than ever greater investment in mental health is needed to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to mental health care. The under investment in mental health has left large treatment gaps globally. Mental health is an investment and not an expense and should be prioritised to avert a further catastrophe.
The worldwide pandemic arose against an already dire mental health landscape that saw mental health conditions on the rise across the globe. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) about 450 million people live with mental disorders that are among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.
According to the WFMH, the treatment gap remains large with 50% of people with mental disorders in high income countries and 85% of persons in low-and middle income countries having no access to treatment (WHO Report). Fragile health systems have not been able to address or cope with the large inequalities and treatment gaps and need for mental health care. Nations’ stretched health systems are further stretched and challenged by the increase in demand for mental health interventions as a result of the Covid-19 virus pandemic.
Hard and drastic lockdown measures implemented to reduce COVID-19 transmissions and deaths saw the enforcement of physical isolation and distancing become a new reality disrupting natural social interactions.
Parallel to emotional and health implications, large scale socio-economic fallout was witnessed as markets and economies were destabilised. The overwhelming impact of the virus has revealed and exposed the deep inequalities and levels of poverty experienced by many causing further mental distress and vulnerability.
According to WHO’s ‘Mental Health Atlas’ survey, governments spend on average 3% of their health budgets on mental health, ranging from less than 1% in low-income countries to 5% in high-income countries. The value of investment needed over the period 2016–30 for scaling up treatment, primarily psychosocial counselling and antidepressant medication, amounted to US $147 billion.
Yet the returns far outweigh the costs. The WHO states that for every US$1 put into scaled up treatment for common mental disorders, there is a return of US$4 in improved health and productivity. Despite hundreds of millions of people around the world living with mental disorders, mental health has remained in the shadows. Despite a growth in mental health awareness, mental health investment has been stagnant across the globe. It is clear that greater movement and action needs to be seen within countries to increase access to mental health for all.
The WFMH state that while COVID-19 has increased the spotlight on mental health, the stocktaking of how greater access to mental healthcare can be improved must always be a continuous process. We can always do more to strengthen mental health response and support in our communities. These investments are not purely the government’s responsibility, nor should doctors be the only answer for those suffering. These investments are the responsibility of all. More importantly, they indicate that we ourselves are an untapped resource in mental healthcare.
World Mental Health Day is simply not a one-day event however it provides the opportunity to maintain a focus on Mental Health and maintain the attention of governments, policy-makers and all stakeholders to ensure action for greater investment in mental health – making good mental health a reality for all – everyone, everywhere.
World Mental Health Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders involved and working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.
To help raise awareness and get people involved in the workplace, the Mental Health Foundation has produced a series of World Mental Health Day Posters which are free to download (Link: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/world-mental-health-day-2021-posters).
‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’
The theme for 2021 was chosen in a global vote by the ‘World Federation for Mental Health’ (WFMH) members, stakeholders and supporters. The thought behind the decision is that the world is becoming increasing polarised in terms of the gap between the wealthiest and those living in poverty, which shows no sign of decreasing.
The WFMH says that access to mental health services remains unequal, with between 75% to 95% of people with mental disorders in low and middle-income countries unable to access mental health services at all, and access in high income countries is not much better. Lack of investment in mental health is disproportionate to the overall health budget and contributes to the mental health treatment gap.
The WFMH adds that many people with a mental illness do not receive the treatment that they are entitled to and together with their families and carers continue to experience stigma and discrimination. The gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ grows ever wider and there is continuing unmet need in the care of people with a mental health problem.
The WFMH state that the Covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted the effects of inequality on health outcomes and no nation, however rich, has been fully prepared for this. The pandemic has and will continue to affect people, of all ages, in many ways: through infection and illness, sometimes resulting in death bringing bereavement to surviving family members; through the economic impact, with job losses and continued job insecurity; and with the physical distancing that can lead to social isolation.
Senior Psychologists at the Health and Safety Executive have stated that there are ‘three parallel pandemics going on’; one is a global recession, which is a pandemic in its own right with loss of jobs, which we know impacts people’s mental health. There is the Covid-19 pandemic, with people going through physical illness and then we have a tidal wave of mental health issues happening, where people are experiencing significant levels of mental distress.
The World Federation for Mental Health has put together educational material to support this year’s World Mental Health Day theme and this is available for download from the WFMH website on this link: https://wfmh.global/world-mental-health-day-2021-theme/
Mental health problems can affect anyone, any day of the year, but 10 October is a great day to show your support for better mental health and to start looking after your own wellbeing.
UK Mental Health Charity ‘MIND’ say that World Mental Health Day 2021 is the most important one yet. The months of lockdown and loss have had a huge impact on us all, and prioritising mental health has never been more important than it is now. That’s why this year MIND wants to bring everyone together to mark the day with their better Mental Health campaigning. Making positive change can seem hard, especially during uncertain times, and sometimes, it can be hard to know where to start. MIND urges people to take the opportunity this World Mental Health Day to find out more about the MIND initiative and how you can start with one thing.
Our mental health is just like our physical health: everybody has it and we need to take care of it.
The MIND World Mental Health Day campaign information can be found at: https://www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/world-mental-health-day/
Mental health problems affect around one in four people in any given year. We all need to take care of our mental health and wellbeing whether we have a mental health problem or not. Mental wellbeing describes how you are feeling and how well you can cope with day-to-day life. It can change from moment to moment, day to day, month to month or year to year.
MIND has produced a range of information, guidance and some tips and practical steps people can take to improve and maintain their wellbeing, including making time for yourself, building positive relationships and getting active. MIND has information on both common and rarer problems such as:
- MIND – ‘What is Mental Health?’ video https://youtu.be/AUWhdmKyOE8
- depression- https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/depression/about-depression/
- anxiety and panic attacks – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/anxiety-and-panic-attacks/about-anxiety/
- schizophrenia- https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/schizophrenia/about-schizophrenia/
- bipolar disorder – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/bipolar-disorder/about-bipolar-disorder/
Living with a mental health problem can often have an impact on day to day life, making things that others might not think about a bit more difficult. MIND has put together some tips and guides to help people cope with everyday things like money, work, university and more. Work can have a significant impact on our mental health and wellbeing, but there are steps we can take to be mentally healthy at work. Read their information on dealing with stress, managing difficult relationships, asking for support and advice on returning to work if you’ve had time off with a mental health problem.
- Wellbeing tips – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/wellbeing/wellbeing/
- Tips for everyday living – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/
- Tips for staying well at work – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/workplace-mental-health/work-and-mental-health/
Mental Health Foundation (MHF)
The MHF produce a range of excellent guide books to order:
- How to look after your mental health
- How to support mental health at work
- How to manage and reduce stress
- How to overcome fear and anxiety
- How to look after your mental health using mindfulness
- How to look after your mental health using exercise
- How to sleep better
- How to look after your mental health in later life
- The truth about self-harm
You can find out about prices and how to order any of their publications at this link: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-order
You can order any of the mental health publications listed above at the following link: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications
or browse their full publications listing here: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/listing
Time To Change
Led by MIND and ReThink Mental Health, ‘Time to Change’ is a growing social movement working to change the way people think and act about mental health problems. They’ve already reached millions of people and begun to improve attitudes and behaviour. Time to Change are preparing for World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2021, and are calling on everyone to open up to mental health, to talk and to listen. Time to Change are spreading the word that everyone deserves to feel safe and supported when talking about our mental health. But too often, mental health stigma leaves people feeling isolated and ashamed. At worst, it prevents people getting support, finding employment or having open conversations. They have a range of excellent resources for employers, workers, universities and the general public to help change attitudes this World Mental Health Day. More information and resources are available at:- https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/
HSE Guide to Work-Related Stress – https://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/
NHS Every Mind Matters – Dealing With Stress At Work – https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/mental-health-issues/stress/
World Health Organisation (WHO) – https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/09-09-2019-suicide-one-person-dies-every-40-seconds
International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) – https://www.iasp.info/
World Federation For Mental Health (WFMH) – https://wfmh.global/
United For Global Mental Health (UFGMH) – https://www.unitedgmh.org/
SAMARITANS – https://www.samaritans.org/
Mental Health Foundation (MHF) – https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
Time To Change – https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/
Rethink Mental Illness – https://www.rethink.org/get-involved/awareness-days-and-events/world-mental-health-day/
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- MIND – ‘Do One Thing’ Poster
- SAMARITANS – ‘SHUSH’ Listening Tips Poster – Top Tips For Becoming A Better Listener
- ‘Time to Change’ Poster
- World Mental Health Day Poster 2021
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer