3 Ways Your Family Can Commemorate World Mental Health Day 2022
According to the World Health Organization, the global prevalence rate of depression and anxiety increased by 25% in the first year of the pandemic. That’s astounding, and it’s a testament to the grave effect of the global health crisis on our mental health.
As the world finally starts to emerge from the concerns and panic brought about by COVID-19, let’s put the spotlight on mental health issues. Join us and the rest of the world in commemorating World Mental Health Day 2022 on the 10th of October.
Local World Mental Health Day 2022 Activities
You can take part by participating in mental health awareness events happening locally.
There are mini-seminars happening in some Dubai universities. For instance, Canadian University Dubai has a Speaker Series on the day at 12 p.m. followed by an open mic for students.
On the 9th of October at 4:30-6 p.m., there’ll be a Paddle Out for World Mental Health event on Sunset Beach. Those who love surfing, paddleboarding, bodyboarding, kayaking, and even dragon boating should check out the event. Just note that pre-registration is required.
However, even if you don’t take part in a specific World Mental Health Day 2022 program, you can still commemorate the occasion by taking the time to rest, meditate, or unwind. Drawing from our professional experience with stress management in Dubai, we can say for sure that a simple break from the routine can make one feel immensely better.
It’s also a good idea to take this opportunity to reflect on your current mental health state.
Break the Stigma, Improve Support
Specifically, the yearly recurring World Mental Health Day exists to let you (and the public) know that mental health issues are not something you should feel embarrassed about or hide.
No one expects someone to feel ashamed for having diabetes, do they? Likewise, no one would blame a person for seeking medical attention for his hypertension. Why, then, must someone with an anxiety disorder or clinical depression feel constrained from seeking help? Yet, that is precisely what people with mental health concerns are often made to feel.
“Are you depressed? Get up from your bed. Just move, smile, and talk. You’ll feel better if you put in some effort. It’s not working? You’re just being overly dramatic. Sometimes I feel depressed and sad, too, but I don’t dwell on it. You’re not getting any better because you don’t put in the effort. You must not want to get better.” These and other hurtful words like them are just some of the things well-meaning people would often say to someone battling depression.
This is why people with mental health concerns feel reluctant to open up and say they are having a mental breakdown. It is this stigma that a yearly world mental health day commemoration wishes to address.
In other words, the World Federation for Mental Health and the World Health Organization started the World Mental Health Day tradition in 1992 to spread awareness about mental health and, hopefully, combat the stigma that surrounds mental health issues.
Beyond breaking the stigma, however, the increased awareness of mental health should also generate sufficient momentum to bring about initiatives to improve and expand the support available for those suffering from mental illnesses.
What Can You Do?
On 10 October, what can you do with your family to contribute to the worldwide push for mental health awareness?
1. Do a Mental Health Check on Yourself
A yearly global mental health day ensures that mental health will occupy people’s thoughts at least once a year. Hopefully, this year’s global mental health awareness campaign will have people looking inwards to check on their mental state.
This World Mental Health Day, check your mental state. How do you feel? How have you been feeling these past few days, weeks, and months?
Are you often sad? Is there a reason you’re unhappy, or do you feel down for what seems like no particular reason? Do you experience mood swings? How about fits of anger? How often do you have them, and do you know what set them off? Are you always tired but have trouble sleeping?
It’s time to pause and ask yourself these difficult questions to check how you are doing mentally. However, to be more effective with your mental health check, go beyond self-reflection and talk to a therapist.
2. Check on Family Members
You should check on your spouse, parents, and siblings. How does their mental state seem? Even if they seem to be always laughing, smiling and full of energy, you can’t assume everything is alright.
Of course, they might not be too forthcoming if you directly ask them about their mental health. So just talk to them. Start with inconsequential, ordinary things, then move on to more important topics. How’s everything with the family? How’s your work going? Just play it by ear.
Make sure to do these talks regularly. It’s important to show genuine interest in their lives and well-being. In other words, establish a solid connection with your family so they’d feel comfortable talking to you regularly about what stresses them and any anxieties they might have.
3. Check on the Children
Children are such pure and innocent souls that it’s hard to imagine them being anything other than happy and carefree. Unfortunately, no one is exempt from mental health concerns.
According to the World Health Organization, one in seven teens aged 10-19 has a mental disorder, and mental disorders account for 13% of the global burden of disease (GBD) in this particular age group. Moreover, the fourth leading cause of death among adolescents 15-19 years old is suicide.
Mental health issues are not restricted to adolescents. One in every six children two to eight years old in the United States has a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
World Mental Health Day 2022’s theme, “Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority,” reflects the sad reality that even children are susceptible to mental health problems.
The Pandemic and Your Children’s Mental Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has made children especially vulnerable. Lockdowns meant children had to transition to remote learning and couldn’t physically interact with their peers. The isolation certainly took its toll on children’s mental health.
A systematic review of studies (Almeida, Rego, Teixeira & Moreira, 2021) revealed that social isolation leads to elevated cortisol levels and is strongly associated with anxiety and depression in children and teenagers.
Other studies revealed that the COVID-19 lockdowns caused emotional and behavioral alterations in (Pizzaro-Ruiz & Ordoñez-Camblor, 2021) and changes in the emotional health and habits of (Schnaiderman et al., 2021) children and adolescents.
The pandemic may also have long-term adverse effects on children’s mental health (Meherali et al., 2021).
At present, more and more schools are bringing their students back to school for in-person lessons. On the one hand, children can once again be with their peers instead of continuing to learn in isolation. On the other hand, the sudden need to interact with others (and the social pressures accompanying this) after at least one year of social isolation and the more structured on-site learning environment also probably mean increased stress levels.
The world may have learned to deal with and handle the pandemic. However, the children are far from being out of the woods. As adults responsible for their well-being, it is crucial that we continue to monitor their mental health. Have them talk to a therapist so they can learn techniques they can use to deal with the stress they’re under.
Schedule Therapy for Your Family
It is World Mental Health Day 2022 on 10 October. Don’t let it pass without checking on your and your family’s mental health. Pay particular attention to your children, as they have suffered greatly during the pandemic.
Evolve Brain Training is an award-winning center that uses non-invasive methods like neurofeedback therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy to treat anxiety, stress, and depression without medication. This World Mental Health Day 2022, check on your and your family’s mental health —particularly that of your children — by booking a free consultation.
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.