In 1992, Deputy Secretary General Richard Hunter developed World Mental Health Day, which has been observed every October 10th since. Sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), this year’s theme is “make mental health and well-being for all a global priority.”
The WHO notes on the campaign website, “Many aspects of mental health have been challenged; and already before the pandemic in 2019 an estimated one in eight people globally were living with a mental disorder. At the same time, the services, skills and funding available for mental health remain in short supply, and fall far below what is needed, especially in low and middle income countries.”
In light of this special day, here are five surprising facts about mental health along with places to turn to if you ever find yourself struggling.
5 Surprising Facts About Mental Health
Fact #1: We ALL have mental health
We all have physical health. And we all have mental health, too! And just like how we do things to care for our physical health, there are things that we can do to care for our mental health as well.
To learn more about the basics of maintaining good mental health through self-care, we welcome you to check out our dedicated self-care resource.
Fact #2: An estimated 1 in 4 people will struggle with mental health
An estimated one in four people worldwide will be affected by a mental health challenge at some point in their lives. This means that even if we do not personally struggle with mental health, we will likely know somebody who does.
To learn more about supporting others who are struggling, check out our article The Do’s and Don’ts of Being a Good Friend to Someone Struggling With Mental Health.
Fact #3: Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds
This is according to the World Health Organization, which also reports that an estimated 1 in 7 (14%) of 10-19 year-olds experience mental health challenges that remain largely unrecognized and untreated. It’s also important to note that depression amongst youth has been steadily rising across the world over the last decade.
If you are a parent, carer, or youth worker in need of children’s mental health resources, we welcome you to explore our dedicated Parent’s Page.
Fact #4: Certain cultures still believe that those with mental health problems are possessed by evil spirits
Interestingly, we still see certain cultures that believe mental health problems are caused by an ‘evil’ force or spirit. We know that this is not true, and part of eliminating the stigma of mental health is dispelling inaccurate myths like these.
For more information on the history of this cultural phenomenon, check out Psychology Today’s article Spirit Possession and Mental Health.
Fact #5: Many individuals still lack access to proper mental health care
In England alone, The Guardian reports that an estimated 8 million people experiencing mental health problems cannot get access to the appropriate specialist help. In addition, an estimated 374,000 individuals under the age of 18 are currently on a waiting list for support.
Finding Hope and Getting Help
We know that the statistics are staggering, but we want you to know that there is hope. There is a wealth of information online for strategies to improve mental health, as well as resources for accessing mental health care in your area.
Here are a few places to get started:
- The World Health Organization has a page dedicated to informational material for the public. Visit the page: Mental well-being: resources for the public
- The Mental Health Foundation and Mind also have a number of self-help resources available for those in the UK.
- If going in person to a mental health service provider is not something you feel comfortable doing, there are also a wide variety of options for telehealth therapy, including platforms like Cerebral, BetterHelp, and TalkSpace.
For a more thorough list of organizations that provide mental health services and support, please check out our More Help page.
About the Author: Brandy Browne
Brandy Browne is the shelter manager for a family crisis center in the United States, as well as a counseling student and blogger for UnStuck (www.unstucks.com) – her area of passion is helping families develop positive habits and breaking the cycle of generational trauma and poverty.
Her education is in early and elementary education, and she also has a masters degree in parenting and child/adolescent development. Brandy is currently in the process of obtaining her counseling license as a marriage and family therapist. Brandy is a wife to her high school sweetheart of seventeen years, and together they share three children, aged twelve, nine, and seven. In her free time, she enjoys reading, gardening, writing, walking, and biking.