World Mental Health Day is October 10. This is an especially critical year for bringing global awareness to mental health. It has been more than 18 months since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while life is returning to a sense of normalcy in some areas of the world, others are still experiencing high rates of transmission and hospital admissions. This unusual and unpredictable disruption to our lives has had a tremendous impact on people’s mental health around the world.
While all people have been affected, some groups such as health and other frontline workers, students, people living alone, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions have been particularly affected. In addition, a WHO survey conducted in mid-2020 clearly showed that “services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders had been significantly disrupted during the pandemic.” The statistics below from NAMI show staggering numbers of just how many people are experiencing mental health issues.
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
- 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
- 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
- Mental illness affects:
- 44% of LGBTQ+ adults
- 32% Mixed/Multiracial adults
- 22% of White adults
- 19% of American Indian or Alaska Native
- 18% of Latinx adults
- 17% of Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander adults
- 17% of Black adults
- 14% of Asian adults
While the pandemic has made it increasingly difficult to find help for mental health illnesses in the past 18 months, these issues have been around for years, with many countries not offering mental health resources at all. However, this year, great strides were made at the World Health Assembly in May, where governments from around the world recognized the need to increase quality mental health services at all levels. WHO’s Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030 was also endorsed, including the Plan’s updated implementation options and indicators for measuring progress.
The slogan for this year’s World Mental Health Day is “Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality”. It is time to make mental health awareness a global priority and make quality mental health care for all a reality.
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255