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The World Commemorates World Mental Health Day

Jenny Decker RN's picture

In an effort to honor and commemorate World Mental Health Day on October 10th, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that it is an important day to mobilize the international resources available to the world to improve mental health care, writes China View. Ban states, “Mental disorders contribute to more disease burden and disability in developing countries than any other category of non-communicable disease, yet only a small minority of people with mental disorders in these countries have access to mental health services.”

World Mental Health Day was established by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) in 1992 on October 10th. Ever since, the WFMH holds an annual commemoration for global awareness to focus on several mental health disorders. Now, over 100 countries have joined the campaign in order to get the word out that mental health services are very few and that people need them desperately.

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Ban said that the definition of health “is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, but a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.” The sad truth is that there are effective treatments for most mental disorders, yet they are widely unavailable around the world. World Mental Health Day’s awareness campaign’s current focus is “Mental Health in Primary Care: Enhancing Treatment and Promoting Mental Health.” The theme is meant to “make mental health issues a global priority,” writes the World Federation for Mental Health.

This year’s mental health day is meant to bring the care of mental illness to the primary care provider. Mental health parity has been a past issue and this year is no different. With health reform, the WFMH aims to make sure that mental health is not forgotten in the process.

Last year, in September 2008, the World Health Organization and the World Organization of Family Doctors (Wonca) released “Integrating Mental Health into Primary Care: A Global Perspective.” This was a huge step for bringing a global effort to integrate mental health into primary care. Along with more resources available for those who need it, it is also cost effective. In order to keep going with the global effort, Ban states that governments, public health organizations, civil society, multilateral agencies and donors need to join hands as the next step in the process.