Each year, October 10th is recognized as World Mental Health Day. On this day, supporters come together to bring increased attention to mental illness. This means educating the public on how mental illness affects people, the stigma associated with mental illness, and the various treatment options available.
Mental Health Facts
It may be understood that many people are affected by mental illness. Yet, finding out the actual facts around mental illness can be shocking for some. In any given year, approximately one in every four adults (and one in every ten children) deals with a mental health problem in this country alone. Additionally, one in every twenty-five American adults lives with a serious mental health diagnosis (i.e. – schizophrenia, bipolar). This means millions of people around the world are dealing with mental health issues. Regardless of the vast amount of people with mental illness, there remains significant stigma, and a gap in knowledge when it comes to the general public. Thus, it is clear why World Mental Health Day is so important.
Types of Mental Health Disorders
Raising awareness and educating the public are central parts of World Mental Health Day. Mental health disorders are complex, and thus not easily understood. Add in the wide range of mental health disorders people deal with, and it can feel overwhelming. A good place to start educating oneself is by getting to know “the basics” when it comes to the different mental health diagnoses. There are five major categories of mental illness, including:
- Anxiety disorders – generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), phobias, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Mood disorders – major depressive disorder (MDD), dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder (I and II)
- Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders – schizoaffective disorder, and schizophrenia
- Dementias – Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Eating disorders – anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder
Of course, having general knowledge about the major categories of mental illness is important. Yet, by no means is it sufficient in terms of thoroughly understanding how those who deal with mental illness are affected.
How You can Contribute to World Mental Health Day
There are ways everyone can play a part and contribute to World Mental Health Day, regardless of if you have a mental illness or not. Show your support by:
- Signing a pledge
- Posting about World Mental Health day on your social media page(s)
- Hand out pamphlets, infographics, educational brochures regarding World Mental Health Day and/or mental health in general
- Attend a community event or educational lecture to increase your personal awareness of current mental health issues and information
If you or someone you know deals with a mental illness, and is looking for additional support, contact HPA/LiveWell in Albany, New York at 518-218-1188 to find out more about treatment options and what to expect when seeking mental health services.