National Day Without Stigma 2020

Introduction

The National Day Without Stigma is a day dedicated to eliminating the discrimination and shame that surrounds mental illness.

Created by Active Minds, a student mental health advocacy organisation, their mission is to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health disorders. The put on events which seek to reduce stigmas associated with seeking help with mental health. Their statistics, from 2017, include:

  • 48% of college students feel overwhelmed by all they have to do
  • 51% of college students experienced overwhelming anxiety within the past year
  • But only 2% of college students said they would seek help from a mental help professional in time of need.

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National Depression Screening Day 2020

Introduction

Whether for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or depression, health screenings provide a quick and easy way to spot the first signs of serious illness and can reach people who might not otherwise seek professional medical advice.

Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting 6.7% (more than 16 million) of American adults each year.

Like screenings for other illnesses, depression screenings should be a routine part of healthcare.

Why Screen for Depression?

  • Clinical depression is a serious medical illness.
  • Clinical depression can lead to suicide.
  • Sometimes people with depression mistakenly believe that the symptoms of depression are a “normal part of life.”
  • Clinical depression affects men and women of all ages, races and socioeconomic groups.
  • Only about a third (35.3%) of those suffering from severe depression seek treatment from a mental health professional.
  • Depression can co-occur and complicate other medical conditions.
  • Screenings are often the first step in getting help.

Who Should Get Screened?

People suffering from depression often experience some of these key symptoms:

  1. A persistent sad, anxious or ’empty’ mood.
  2. Sleeping too little, early morning awakening, or sleeping too much.
  3. Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain.
  4. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed.
  5. Restlessness or irritability.
  6. Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
  7. Fatigue or loss of energy.
  8. Thoughts of death or suicide.

Screenings are not a Professional Diagnosis

Screenings point out the presence or absence of depressive symptoms and provide a referral for further evaluation if needed.

You should see a medical professional or a qualified mental health professional if you experience five or more of the above symptoms for longer than two weeks or if the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with your daily routine.

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Mental Illness Awareness Week 2020

Introduction

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) was established in 1990 in recognition of efforts by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to educate and increase awareness about mental illness.

It takes place every year during the first full week of October.

During this week, mental health advocates and organisations across the US join to sponsor events to promote community outreach and public education concerning mental illnesses such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Examples of activities held during the week include art/music events, educational sessions provided by healthcare professionals and individuals with lived experience and/or familial lived experience, advertising campaigns, health fairs, prayer services, movie nights, candlelight vigils, and benefit runs.

An estimated 26.2% of Americans ages 18 and older – about one in four adults – are believed to be diagnosable with a mental illness in any given year. The numbers may be larger because stigma reduces reporting.

Not only are these adults affected by one mental illness; 45% of these adults meet criteria for two or more disorders. These range from fairly common mood disorders to the much more serious anxiety and schizophrenia disorders. Among these, anxiety disorders were the most common, as some 40 million American adultages 18 and older experience some form of anxiety disorder.

Despite the large number of Americans affected by such disorders, stigma surrounding mental illness is a major barrier that prevents people from seeking the mental health treatment that they need.

Programmes during Mental Illness Awareness Week are designed to create community awareness and discussion in an effort to put an end to stigma and advocate for treatment and recovery.

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World Mental Health Day 2020

Introduction

World Mental Health Day is an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma.

It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organisation with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.

This day, each October, thousands of supporters come to celebrate this annual awareness program to bring attention to mental illness and its major effects on peoples’ lives worldwide.

In some countries this day is part of an awareness week, such as Mental Health Week in Australia.

Brief History

World Mental Health Day was celebrated for the first time on 10 October 1992 at the initiative of Deputy Secretary General Richard Hunter. Up until 1994, the day had no specific theme other than general promoting mental health advocacy and educating the public.

In 1994, World Mental Health Day was celebrated with a theme for the first time at the suggestion of then Secretary General Eugene Brody. The theme was ‘Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World’.

World Mental Health Day is supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) through raising awareness on mental health issues using its strong relationships with the Ministries of health and civil society organizations across the globe. WHO also supports with developing technical and communication material.

Historical Themes

  • 2020: Move for mental health: Increased investment in mental health.
  • 2019: Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention.
  • 2018: Young people and mental health in a changing world.
  • 2017: Mental health in the workplace.
  • 2016: Psychological First Aid.
  • 2015: Dignity in Mental Health.
  • 2014: Living with Schizophrenia.
  • 2013: Mental health and older adults.
  • 2012: Depression: A Global Crisis.
  • 2011: The Great Push: Investing in Mental Health.
  • 2010: Mental Health and Chronic Physical Illnesses.
  • 2009: Mental Health in Primary Care: Enhancing Treatment and Promoting Mental Health.
  • 2008: Making Mental Health a Global Priority: Scaling up Services through Citizen Advocacy and Action.
  • 2007: Mental Health in A Changing World: The Impact of Culture and Diversity.
  • 2006: Building Awareness – Reducing Risk: Mental Illness & Suicide.
  • 2005: Mental and Physical Health Across the Life Span.
  • 2004: The Relationship Between Physical & Mental Health: co-occurring disorders.
  • 2003: Emotional and Behavioural Disorders of Children & Adolescents.
  • 2002: The Effects of Trauma and Violence on Children & Adolescents.
  • 2000-2001: Mental Health and Work.
  • 1999: Mental Health and Aging.
  • 1998: Mental Health and Human Rights.
  • 1997: Children and Mental Health.
  • 1996: Women and Mental Health.

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