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World Mental Health Day: Shattering the Stigma of Mental Illness

posted by Breanna Khorrami 0 comments
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Today is World Mental Health Day, a day that seeks to bring awareness to mental health issues. This year’s theme is “psychological first aid”, with a focus on those who may find themselves in a helping roll, rather than those who suffer from mental health issues.

The World Health Organization posted an explanation of what the theme entails on their website.

“Efforts in support of the day will focus on basic pragmatic psychological support by people who find themselves in a helping role whether they be health staff, teachers, firemen, community workers, or police officers.”

The site stresses the importance of being to identify signs of distress in others so that they may be treated in a timely manner, similar to how a cut or a scrape would be treated using a first aid kit.

“Learning the basic principles of psychological first aid will help you to provide support to people who are very distressed, and, importantly, to know what not to say.”

According to the Kim Foundation, an estimated 20.9 million American adults suffer from a mood disorder, which includes major depressive and bipolar disorders. Approximately 40 million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder, which include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Panic Disorder; Generalized Anxiety Disorder; and phobias.

Half of all mental illnesses begin around the age of fourteen, according to the World Health Organization. Furthermore, around 800,000 people commit suicide each year, making it the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds. It is estimated that for every one successful attempt, there are twenty that failed.

Those who have access to mental healthcare often do not use it. Some are deterred by the belief that what they suffer from is incurable. Others believe that by actively seeking help, they will be branded as someone who cannot take care of themselves, is difficult, or unintelligent.

The stigma that comes with having a mental illness often causes those who suffer from one to remain silent. Having days like World Mental Health Day provide a means to open up the conversation in a safe way that gives sufferers and loved ones a platform to receive help.

Twitter users have been circulating the hashtag #WorldMentlaHealthDay to provide encouragement to those who are affected by mental illness.



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