The tenth of October celebrates World Mental Health Day, sponsored by WHO, the World Health Organization. Talking about mental health is more important than ever as statistics suggest that mental illness is a globally widespread issue. According to the WHO, “half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14” but the majority of individuals living with mental illness will never be properly diagnosed or treated.
Statistics or the age in which mental illness strikes isn’t the real point of World Mental Health day. Mental illness and issues of mental health are globally pervasive because mental health is a globally pervasive entity. Every single living person on planet Earth who has a brain has mental health in the exact same way that every single person on planet Earth who has a body has physical health. Physical health conditions like diseases, disorders, and cancers are a real threat to life, health, and happiness. Likewise, mental illnesses are a real threat to life, health, and happiness.
We learn not to let physical health conditions fester. When something is obviously wrong, we rush to an emergency room, we call an ambulance, or we schedule an appointment with a doctor. Not all physical health issues are obvious, which is why we are supposed to regularly go for check ups with our various doctors to make sure everything is in healthy working order. In comparison, not all mental health issues are obvious, but we don’t often see a therapist or a psychiatrist or a doctor until our mental health problems become obvious. Like with physical health, there are ways to act preventatively and proactively take charge of one’s health through regular exercise, a well balanced nutritious diet, and other measures. We have ways to act proactively toward our mental health as well. Until the recent trend of discussing mental health in the mainstream, there has been far less effort put toward educating people on mental health and mental illness. Now, with an opioid epidemic surging, a rise in suicide, and growing numbers of mental illness, there is no hiding the universality of mental health and the importance of maintaining it.
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