Did you know that approximately 1 in every 4 people live with a mental illness worldwide? And that simply by learning and speaking more about mental health you could help millions of people the world over? This is the message behind this year’s World Mental Health Day.

World Mental Health day is celebrated on 10 October every year to raise awareness of mental health issues across the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. The day offers an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health problems to discuss about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a genuine case for people around the world.

The day was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in over 150 countries.

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In Canada and some other countries the Mental Health Day is celebrated as part of Mental Health Awareness Week (October 5th -11th). This year’s theme of Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Dignity in Mental Health.’ The objective will be to raise awareness of what can be done to ensure that people with mental health illness can continue to live with dignity, through human rights oriented policy and law, better training of health professionals, respect for informed consent to treatment, inclusion in decision-making processes, and public information campaigns.

How can we promote the rights and dignity of people with mental health conditions?

  • Supporting people with mental health conditions to participate in community life, and acknowledging the value of their contribution
  • Respecting their autonomy to make decisions for themselves including their living arrangements and personal and financial matters
  • Ensuring their access to employment, education, housing, social support and other opportunities
  • Including people in decision-making processes on issues that affect them, including policy, legislation and health service reform relating to mental health

Taking a Mental Health Day off to recharge our brains
While we raise awareness and promote the rights and dignity of people with mental health conditions, it is our duty to take care of our own mental health as well. That means giving proper rest to our mind when it feels tired and stressed out. We should not hesitate for taking an off day from work for our mental health just like we take sick days off when our bodies are not well.

The good news is that mental health in workplaces is getting the attention it deserves. There are plans in place to involve employers to modify benefits packages to include mental health days as part of the sick day allotment. Some employers have already started separating the sick day allotment into days for physical illness and days for compassion care.

External Resources:
World Federation for Mental Health

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