Why World Mental Health Day Is More Relevant Now More Than Ever
October 10 is World Mental Health Day 2021, and it couldn’t be more relevant. Under the shadow of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, an unwavering focus on mental health and the state of the people’s mental health is warranted.
The COVID-19 Pandemic: Exposing Mental Health Symptoms
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people had to undergo neurofeedback therapy ADHD treatment, get psychotherapy to treat their depression, or take medications to manage the symptoms of mental health conditions they never knew they had.
Indeed, the extended lockdowns and remote work and learning systems exposed or highlighted problems that used to be easily dismissed, justified, or swept under the rug.
This is often the case with ADHD. Because of the pandemic, family members have to remain in sustained, close contact with each other. This brought to light persistent inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive behaviors that may not have been too obvious pre-pandemic.
ADDitude reports in 2021 that a survey among its readers revealed that 26.5% of 2,365 adult survey respondents had been formally diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder within the last year. Additionally, around 22% of adults and 17% of children started taking ADHD medication for the first time during that same period.
The pandemic, it seems, has raised awareness about ADHD behavior, which led more people into seeking medical help. Therefore, more adults and children were able to obtain a diagnosis and start ADHD treatment without medication (think neurofeedback therapy), with medication, or through a combination of both therapy and prescription medication.
Why Focusing on Mental Health Is More Crucial Now
According to a joint release by the World Health Organization, United for Global Mental Health, and the World Federation for Mental Health in 2020, nearly one billion people worldwide suffer from mental disorders. Mental disorders include depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, ADHD, substance abuse, and autism, among many others.
Pre-Pandemic State of Mental Health
Sadly, even before the pandemic, mental health disorders were already severely neglected.
Before the pandemic, depression was already a leading cause of disability, affecting 264 million people worldwide. Together, depression and anxiety cost the world more than USD 1 trillion per year. Severe mental disorders led to a 10- to 20-year reduction in life expectancy, and suicide was a primary cause of death for young people 15 to 29 years old. In fact, a person died by suicide every 40 seconds.
The pervasive stigma associated with mental health illnesses and the unavailability or inaccessibility of mental health services worsened the problem. In poorer economies, more than 75% of those suffering from mental health conditions received no treatment at all for their conditions.
The Pandemic Era: Impact on Mental Health
The picture above is bleak, but it has gotten even more miserable with the pandemic.
The pandemic has exacerbated or led to the relapse of symptoms for those with existing mental health illnesses. Compounding the problem is the disruption of treatment due to lockdowns.
Someone with depression could no longer proceed with his depression therapy because clinics were closed or doctors were unavailable. Furthermore, social distancing also cut off crucial psychosocial support systems.
On the other hand, frontline workers are under moderate to severe psychological distress due to the nature of their work. They are at high risk of burnout, stigmatization, and suicide.
Likewise, COVID-19 patients and their families have to deal with separation from family members and fear and uncertainty about their or their loved one’s condition. And death in isolation and their inability to say goodbye to their loved ones worsen the feelings of grief.
The elderly, on the other hand, already vulnerable to dementia and other mental illnesses, are at greater risk because of their isolation and loneliness. Children, forced to be away from their friends, suffer from stress. Women anxious about the pandemic are significantly at risk for depression and anxiety.
And for children and women at risk of suffering abuse and violence at home, the lockdowns and remote work/learning setup of the new normal have put them at an even greater risk.
How about those in refugee camps, in areas with an ongoing military conflict or humanitarian crisis? Their situation already puts them in a precarious mental state, but the pandemic has likely cut off their sources of aid and support.
The pandemic is leaving no segment of the population untouched and unaffected. Men, women, children, and the elderly are all suffering from increased stress, uncertainty, worry, and fear because of the pandemic.
Indeed, the pandemic has led to a global mental health crisis, making World Mental Health Day even more relevant than ever. Only with widespread awareness can the problem be adequately addressed.
October 2021 World Mental Health Campaigns
The following are the major world mental health awareness campaigns this October. There could be similar mental health awareness campaigns in your locality.
World Mental Health Day, October 10
The World Mental Health Day is observed by the World Federation for Mental Health, the World Health Organization, and WFMH member organizations.
World Mental Health Day 2021’s theme is “Mental Health in an Unequal World.” It reflects this year’s thrust to campaign for more meaningful mental healthcare support to patients and their carers in an increasingly polarized world. As always, the goal of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness about mental health issues and to make mental health care available and accessible to all.
Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 3-9
MIAW by the National Alliance on Mental Illness is a week-long campaign when advocates for mental health issues in the USA make a concerted effort to promote mental health awareness.
This year, the theme is “Together for Mental Health,” and the focus will be on serious mental illness, particularly advocating for better care for those suffering from it. Throughout the week, the organization will publish personal stories on serious mental illnesses, ensuring that the voices of those who have lived or are living through these conditions will be heard.
National Depression Screening Day, October 7
On October 7, numerous organizations will conduct a massive anonymous screening drive for depression in various locations in the United States.
This activity normalizes depression screening, helping make it an accepted part of primary health care. It is hoped that depression screening will encourage people suffering in silence to talk about their symptoms and condition.
Diagnosis is the first step to treating depression. What type of therapy is used for depression depends mainly on the severity of one’s symptoms, so diagnosis is key to getting appropriate treatment.
Through this screening drive, those who need help can finally be diagnosed and hopefully get treated.
Mental Health Awareness: More Important Than Ever
This year, let your voice be heard for mental health awareness. The goal is to increase acceptance of and reduce the stigmas associated with mental illness. This way, people who are feeling the toll of the pandemic on their mental health will feel empowered to seek help.
Furthermore, there is a need to advocate for the increased availability of mental health services. There should be a call for governments to upgrade their mental health services’ scale and quality.
If you are looking for ADHD treatment in Dubai or a way to treat depression without medication, consider neurofeedback therapy. This non-invasive treatment is clinically proven effective against ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.
Book a free consultation with us at Evolve Brain Training now.
Dr. Upasana Gala is the founder and CEO of Evolve Brain Training, a Neurofeedback centered institute that focuses on using non-invasive brain training techniques to maximize the brain's true potential.