World Mental Health Day-2011

by Dr. Reeja Tharu on  October 9, 2011 at 6:04 AM Health In Focus
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"I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I'm awake" -Ernest Hemmingway

The World Mental Health Day (WMH) falls on October 10th 2011 each year.
 World Mental Health Day-2011
World Mental Health Day-2011

A separate day to acknowledge mental health was created by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) in 1992 with a hope to create public awareness on mental health - related issues.


The theme for Mental Health Day, 2011 is "The Great Push: Investing in mental health."

This year, the day hopes to enhance discussions on mental disorders, and to encourage investments in prevention, treatment and promoting awareness of mental illnesses.

What is Mental Health?

Sound mental health is not merely a reference to disease-free existence; it is a state of well-being when an individual is able to realize his, or her, full potential, is able to handle life's stresses and is able to contribute positively towards society.

Mental illness is a universal malady. According to World Health Organisation's statistics for 2002, 154 million people across the globe suffer from depression.

Mental Health, is an umbrella term referring to the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of individuals with mental diseases.


People with mental disorders are mostly neglected and traumatized. In several places, mental diseases are not categorized as an illness.

Even the treatment that patients receive is far from humane because they are considered to be weak or immoral and seemingly deserve nothing better. It is very common to see human rights being violated in homes, roads or at treatment centers all through the world, when dealing with mentally-challenged individuals.

It is distressing to know that there is a huge financial and manpower shortage in managing mental diseases, especially in poorer countries. Most of the low- and middle-income countries do not even spend 2% of their health budget on mental health; even this amount is spent on larger hospitals and not on the primary or community health care centers.

Future Steps

There is a need to increase investment in mental health care and make it more effective across the globe. Creating awareness too requires funds and is hard to come by.

Effort must be made to dispense medical services at community centers and general hospitals and not merely at larger hospitals.

There seems to be a need to promote and safeguard mental health at the early stage—among children—to prevent mental diseases in adulthood and old age.

Prevention of mental health may be universal, selective or indicative.

'Universal' is when the entire public is targeted for treatment; 'selective' is when high- risk people are selected for counseling or other modes of management. 'Indicative' treatment is when a high risk person, already showing signs of the disease, is targeted and treatment initiated.

Consistent action requiring involvement by the private sectors, NGOs and the government seems to be the need of the hour and this will go a long way in ensuring a sound mind, in a sound body, to all.

Source: Medindia

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before we get too eager to "target and treat" individuals or groups with purported mental health issues, we had better match World Mental Health Day with an international day for remembrance and resistance in honour of psychiatric targets forced to endure confinement, community treatment orders, court-ordered drugging and political imprisonment in psychiatric facilities and prisons world wide.


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