National Mental Health Day is celebrated around the world on October 10th. It was started in the 1990s by the World Federation of Mental Health. Thankfully, this celebration of understanding and promoting good mental health habits has become more popular with the recent self-care movement.
When is National Mental Health Day, and why is it important? Here’s what you need to know.
What is National Mental Health Day?
Mental health is a catch-all term used by medical and psychiatric professionals to describe a person’s overall mental, emotional, and social wellbeing. In no particular order, some parts of your mental health include:
- Your self-esteem and self-worth
- Your relationships with others and their effects on you
- Biological influences such as your brain chemistry
- Conditions and disorders such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD, etc.
Maintaining good mental health is essential to proper daily function. Unfortunately, until recently it was seen as a secondary or even unnecessary part of personal wellness care.
Indeed, until the mid-to-late 1900s, the topic of mental health was seen as taboo. At that time painful conditions – both physical and mental – caused many preventable deaths.
Mental health advocacy groups began to pop up in the late 1960s. They became true driving forces for change in the industry in the 1970s. In addition, at this time the federal government started supporting psychiatric and medical services for mental health.
As a result, these programs have continued to grow, and now, mental health advocacy is at the forefront of many campaigns. These fight to end the stigmas surrounding mental health issues. One such major campaign is National Mental Health Day, established in 1992 by the World Federation of Mental Health (WFMH).
When is National Mental Health Day?
So, if it’s so important, when is National Mental Health Day, and why is it held then?
National Mental Health Day is on October 10th. This was decided by Richard Hunt, the Deputy Secretary General of the WFMH in the 1990s.
Though it’s unclear why he chose this day in particular, it may have been because of the nearing winter months. If so, he may have felt a need to make it important to highlight and advocate for mental health treatment immediately. It may also have been to have enough time during the year to gather sponsors and speakers for the event.
Whatever the reason, the first National Mental Health Day was held on October 10, 1992. It was a two-hour-long television program on the theme of “Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services Throughout the World.”
The campaign was a giant success, receiving feedback from 27 countries. It has grown in momentum each year into the present.
How to Get Involved
If you’re looking to get involved in National Mental Health Day, but aren’t sure where to start, here are a few suggestions.
- Reach out on a personal level. Contact family and friends to let them know that you’re thinking of them. Tell them that they’re important to you. Check in on those you know struggle with a mental illness.
- Educate and inform yourself. Read up on mental health issues currently facing the world. Consider the issues that affect not only you, but your community. Educate yourself to help you better understand what these issues are.
- Get involved socially. Join in social media discussions about the importance of mental health advocacy. You can also contact your local officials or charity organizations. Ask them what their plans are for starting better mental health practices.
- Take a mental health day for yourself. Remember that your mental health is important. Take time on National Mental Health Day to be an advocate for yourself. Start or continue habits that make your mental health better.