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World Mental Health Day

  • Posted on- Oct 10, 2017
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World Mental Health Day is observed on the 10th of October each year. World Mental Health Day is a movement of people suffering from mental disorders and the organizations that support them, in more than 150 countries.

World Mental Health Day's vision is to raise awareness about mental health and providing support for better mental well being. World Federation for Mental Health founded the awareness day in 1992 and since then people all over the world are celebrating World Mental Health Day.

The theme of World Mental Health Day 2017 is "Mental health in the workplace". A large proportion of time is spent at work during adult life. Work is good for mental health but a negative working environment can lead to physical and mental health problems. Experiences at workplace are important factors contributing to overall wellbeing of an individual. Workplace initiatives to promote mental health and to support employees who have mental disorders are not only beneficial to employees but also give gains in their productivity at work.

Mental disorders are main causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. According to World Health Organization (WHO), around 450 million people suffer from mental disorders globally. One in four people in the world is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. In India, National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 estimated that mental morbidity of individuals above the age of 18 years is 10.6%.

Harassment and bullying at work are commonly reported problems and can have a substantial adverse impact on mental health. These health consequences can result into reduced productivity, harmful use of substances or alcohol, increased staff turnover and a negative impact on family and social interactions.

Depression and anxiety disorders are common mental disorders that have an impact on person's ability to work, and to work productivity. Globally more than 300 million people suffer from depression and more than 260 million are living with anxiety disorders. Many of these people live with both. One in five people in the workplace experience a mental health condition.

Many of these mental disorders can be treated, but access to treatment is often difficult, and stigma may prevent people from seeking services even when they are available. Roughly 85% of employees' mental health conditions are undiagnosed or untreated.

WHO further says that stigma, discrimination and neglect prevent care and treatment of such illnesses. Where there is neglect, there is little or no understanding. Where there is no understanding, there is neglect. The United Nations' health agency seeks to break this vicious cycle and urges governments to seek solutions for mental health that are already available and affordable.

National activities to support mental health:

Government of India has been practicing National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) since 1982 to ensure the availability and accessibility of minimum mental healthcare for all with its key implementation unit- District Mental Health Programme. The aim is to integrate mental health care in to primary health care and to proceed towards community health care.

The National Mental Health Policy announced in October, 2014 and Mental Healthcare Act was made in April 2017 to strengthen mental health services.

Do your best in promoting mentally healthy workplace by:

  • Providing support for employees who need it
  • Identification of early signs of burnout
  • Stress management
  • Creating of a supportive environment
  • Appreciation of employees and workers
  • Creating an organizational culture which reflects value systems and beliefs
  • Decreasing social isolation and making people feel more included
  • Building awareness and breaking the stigma of mental illness

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