At The Daily Mind, every day is mental health day because we know the value of mental health and understand how it is intertwined with every aspect of our lives. October 10 is a special day though, and we are happy to celebrate it with everyone as we seek to “make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority” – the theme set by the World Health Organization for World Mental Health Day 2022. So, while we usually focus on what we can do to nurture our own minds, today we urge everyone to join us in spreading awareness and pushing for the prioritization of mental health by governments and organizations of which we are part.
Here are some ways you can help today.
Harness the power of social media
Whether you post regularly on social media or prefer to lurk around, now is a good time to take a few minutes to share something about mental health.
Want to help others help themselves?
Helping others does not always mean doing something for them. Knowledge is power and by simply sharing self-help resources on mental health, you are empowering others. It is up to them if they want to ignore it or click on the link, read on, and actually execute what they learn. What’s important is that you did your part to try to help someone today.
Want to keep it real?
If you prefer a more personal approach, you can share your journey with mental health and open up about a difficult time in your life or your ongoing struggles. This is undoubtedly harder to do than just sharing an infographic or some links, but it will go a long way toward breaking the stigma and dismantling barriers. It might be scary, but you would probably be surprised by how many people can relate. Some might even reach out to share their own story, give you virtual hugs, or even ask you for help or advice.
Want to help WHO with its advocacy?
As individuals, we have agency or control over our own mental health and well-being, but communities and governments need to do their part to end stigma and discrimination and provide better mental health care programs and services. WHO seeks to push governments and all stakeholders to step up to the plate and do what must be done to strengthen mental health care across the globe. You can help them by downloading infographics and carousal tiles about the state of mental health around the world from WHO’s social media kit. This is a great way to help spread awareness while learning a thing or two yourself.
For example, did you know that…
1 in 8 people live with a mental health condition
On average, only 2% of health budgets worldwide go to mental health?
Sobering facts, right? If more people knew about this, maybe more people would understand why there is a need to push governments and institutions to allocate more budget for mental health programs and services.
Whatever you decide to share on social media though, remember to put in the all-important hashtags #worldmentalhealthday #worldmentalhealthday2022 .
Get serious and contact the authorities
Sharing stuff on social media, tagging pages, and even getting into a debate in comments sections (which is NOT a good thing for your mental health) seems easy compared to reaching out to the authorities. If we want to get things done though, we need to step out of our comfort zone and get off the social media soapbox. Instead, reach out through other channels such as email, snail mail, or phone.
Before you send that email though, it is important to know what it is you want to achieve and who you need to reach.
What do you want to achieve?
If your answer is simply “better mental health for all” then you can be sure that you won’t get anywhere. If you want to get things done, you need to be more specific and stay away from motherhood statements.
Examples of specific things you can advocate for include:
- Passing a bill on mental health – This requires some research on your part. Whatever country you are from, chances are that there are bills relating to mental health currently waiting to be passed. Find one or two that you believe would bring about positive and measurable change in your country and make it your advocacy to see it passed into law.
- Improve mental health and well-being support at your workplace – You should be more specific in your ask when it comes to the workplace. Do you wish to increase awareness through bulletin boards or mental health fun days? Do you want the company to provide mental health and psychosocial programs or benefits to employees or, if they already do, to increase and expand coverage? Do you want to call out practices that are detrimental to mental health?
Who do you need to reach?
Once you know what you want, then you can go about finding out who you need to get in touch with. Keep in mind that you need to reach someone who either has enough authority to directly do something to help your goal become a reality, or to influence those who have the power to do so. This may be people in congress, human resources, a special committee at work, or even NGOs and people’s organizations whose advocacies are in line with yours.
Be prepared for any outcome though, whether it be a non-reply or to be called in for a meeting so that concrete steps can be taken towards realizing your goal. Whatever happens, remember to breathe in and breathe out, take care of yourself and stay healthy. Our goal is to make mental health a priority for everyone and that always includes YOU.