10 October, is World Mental Health Day.
It’s an annual occasion created by the World Federation for Mental Health, designed to get us all talking about the state of our mental health.
Each World Mental Health Day has a theme to focus on. This year, it’s young people and mental health in a changing world.
That changing world refers to growing up on the internet, experiencing online bullying, watching violent or upsetting content, and being bombarded with an endless stream of bad news and unachievable lifestyles to compare your own to.
The World Federation for Mental Health notes that suicide and substance abuse numbers have been steadily rising, LGBTQ+ youth are battling loneliness and isolation, and young people still aren’t getting the support and education they need to deal with mental illness.
“We want to bring attention to the issues our youth and young adults are facing in our world today and begin the conversation around what they need in order to grow up healthy, happy and resilient,” writes the World Federation for Mental Health.
‘Let’s all use this year to emphasize the needs of our young people. It’s time to take a stand and demand more for this vulnerable population – our future depends on it!’
The key areas today will focus on are bullying, the effects of trauma, mental illness in young people, suicide and young people, and gender identity and mental wellbeing.
‘As we watch the news, scroll the internet and talk to family and friends around the world, it’s apparent that instability, violence and constant traumatic events are becoming daily occurrences,’ said WFMH president Professor Alberto Trimboli.
‘Our young people today face constant stressors and challenges – happening in their own lives and in the world around them.
‘Many of the issues facing our young people today, such as, bullying, suicide, the onset of major mental illnesses, the effects of trauma, and gender identity discrimination require our time and attention, global awareness and compassion, as well as new programs and guidelines on how we can protect and empower the next generation.’
WFMH wants to encourage a plan of early interventions, prevention of mental illness and triggers such as bullying, and the implementing of resilience support and programs to educate young people about mental wellbeing.
You can get involved by reading the WFMH report about all the issues young people are facing today, donating to mental health charities such as YoungMinds, and sharing stories on social media with the #WorldMentalHealthDay tag.