World Mental Health Day And Its Enhanced Importance During the Pandemic

World Mental Health Day is observed annually on the 10th of October and the overall objective remains enhancing awareness regarding mental health issues globally along with leveraging initiatives that support mental wellbeing. This day comes as an opportunity for all stakeholders in this space, bringing mental health conversations to the forefront while helping people combat depression. The day is all about encouraging education related to mental health along with advocating against any social stigma linked to the same. This year, World Mental Health Day will emphasize on Mental Health for All along with advocating higher involvement in the same as well. 

World Mental Health Day

Under the initiative taken by the World Federation for Mental Health and Richard Hunter, the Deputy Secretary General, the very first World Mental Health Day was observed on the 10th of October, 1992. Every year, thousands of supporters and representatives congregate for celebrating this annual awareness initiative which has a mission of throwing more light on mental illness and its impact on a major chunk of global citizens. The current juncture is immensely crucial with the whole world witnessing serious disruption post the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last 7 months, the whole world has come to a stop with a global emergency state being created by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Keeping sanity intact and ensuring emotional wellbeing and mental stability is tough at the current time. Everyday stresses carried by people are hard to deal with, particularly when they are amplified by the global COVID-19 crisis. Ignoring mental health issues can always be extremely dangerous in the bargain. The anxiety and stress resulting from a continual threat to personal physical health and that of loved ones is creating havoc along with isolation arising from quarantine, leading to severe depression. With the economic downfall and job losses along with uncertainty and emotional distress throughout the globe, statistics have shown an alarming rise in the number of people suffering from these issues. 

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Even prior to the global pandemic, statistics have thrown up a problematic scenario with approximately 450 million people living with mental disorder in one form or another worldwide. The WHO (World Health Organisation) and World Federation for Mental Health have urged global citizens to pay greater attention to their psychological health and seek help if required, sooner than later. Several therapists and psychiatrists have started attending to their patients on digital media while some have accessed social media for keeping everyone suitably informed about the steps to be implemented for ensuring wellbeing at a personal level. The emphasis is also on teaching people to be more accommodating of those suffering from mental illnesses. 

Mindfulness is a great trait to combat health mental issues and is something that has been advocated in several ancient philosophies. Mindfulness can be learnt from meditation, yoga and Tai Chi among other tools. Breath is one of the key factors for emotional regulation. According to the Bhagavad Gita, the mind may either be your worst possible enemy or best friend. It is entirely up to the individual and if you make your mind your companion, then you may achieve anything that you put your mind to. However, if your mind is not with you, then intelligence may be channelized towards activities which are unproductive. 

Yoga helps in building mindfulness and ensures better mental and physical wellbeing. Some of the asanas that experts highly recommend (depending upon your physical condition of course) in this case include Paschimottanasana, Sarvangasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Savithri Asana, Baddha Konasana and others. This World Mental Health Day, let us all take a pledge to appreciate what we have instead of what we do not. Let us pledge to support our loved ones and care for them. Let us pledge to not keep things to ourselves and take help whenever we need the same. This year, let us all strive to shake off the negativity and stop ignoring our mental health. 

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