Mental health is an aspect of overall health which is as equally as important as physical health. It includes the emotional, psychological and social well-being of an individual. Mental health influences behavior, cognition and perception which will consequently affect how an individual handles stress, their interpersonal relationships and their decision making.

Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Schizophrenia, OCD and Eating Disorders are some of the most commonly known and discussed mental disorders in the world. It should be noted that the terms ‘poor mental health’ and ‘mental illness’ are not the same. Poor mental health can be experienced by an individual without being clinically diagnosed with a mental illness. Similarly, an individual that is diagnosed with a mental illness can experience periods of emotional, psychological and social well-being.

As of 2019, of every eight people, one was diagnosed with a mental disorder. The influence of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant rise in the number of those diagnosed with mental disorders; most of which were Depression and Anxiety Disorders, while also fueling poor mental health globally. The mental health of an individual may change with time given the circumstances. While the COVID-19 pandemic is an obvious example of such a circumstance, economic hardships, unemployment, and at times even changes in weather can influence poor mental health.

World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to raise awareness and to be an ally in mental health promotion. The stigma and discrimination around mental health continue to limit access to the appropriate services for those that need it the most. World Mental Health Day is celebrated on the 10th of October annually with the intention of educating and eradicating the social stigma around mental health. The theme for 2022 is Making Mental Health and Well-Being for All a Global Priority, which aims to recognize the progress in the field of mental health and also discuss what should be done furthermore to promote mental health globally.

Written by: Dilki Fonseka



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