World Mental Health Day (Sunday 10 October) is a World Health Organisation initiative that aims to raise awareness and understanding around the subject of global mental health.
Policies, treatment, and even basic conceptions surrounding mental ill-health can differ massively from culture to culture and country to country.
But, this year, World Mental Health Day’s campaign unites us all – as we are asked to reflect on the impact of the pandemic on our collective mental health and where we can find optimism through crisis.
WHO want to highlight positive stories from around the world; countries that have found new ways of providing mental health care to their populations, what we can learn from one another, and how we can move forward towards better #mentalhealthcareforall.
Here at Luminate, we offer mental health support to businesses in the UK and have seen first-hand the impact of the pandemic on employee wellbeing, as well as many, many reasons to be optimistic for the future of mental health care.
Today, we’ll share a few of those with you as we ask the Luminate team, “What does World Mental Health Day mean to you?”
I personally love awareness days like World Mental Health Day. It gives the world an opportunity to really focus on mental health and reflect on how we can better look after ourselves and those in our communities when it comes to our wellbeing. It’s been a tough 18 months for many and as the world opens up it’s a good time to think about whether our previous lifestyles really worked for us. Although we’ve seen many people experience poor mental health, we’ve also seen communities band together, companies invest in their people’s mental health, flexible working become the norm and a real shift to put the subject of mental health in the spotlight. It’s been a hard period but I believe there is a lot to be hopeful of in this arena and with days like this, we can continue to spread the message around mental health: it’s ok not to be ok and it’s ok to ask for help when you need it.
For me, World Mental Health Day is about breaking down stigma. It’s an opportunity for people globally to shine a light on mental health and continue to open up honest conversations around mental health and wellbeing.
Our collective and personal wellbeing has been tested this past year and a half in ways we could never have anticipated. As we start to come out into a post-pandemic world (too hopeful?!), these open, honest conversations about how we’re doing are going to be crucial, I feel, in helping us to recover from 18 months of wellbeing challenges.
This World Mental Health Day, I’m going to be taking the opportunity to check in with myself and my own mental wellbeing, and see if there is any self-care I need to feel well. I’m also going to take the opportunity to check in with my friends to see how they’re doing – no, how they’re really doing – and let them know I’m around if they need to talk. After all, it’s these conversations that allow us the opportunity to be open and honest about our wellbeing challenges, which can only be a good thing overall!
World Mental Health Day is a great opportunity to learn more about mental health within a global context 🌍
As part of my role at Luminate, I am (or try my very best to be!) up to date with the state of workplace mental health in the UK - because this is the market, for the most part, that we operate in.
But getting a more expansive view of mental health is incredibly important, on both a professional and personal level - to be more aware of policies and initiatives, inspirational stories and positive trends, that we can learn from, as well as inequalities we need to be sensitive to and where we should, in some instances, re-direct our attention and outreach.
For example, did you know that the Peruvian government have increased their investment in community-based mental health centres by 400% this year, by changing the financing model to a results-based system. California is set to launch a state-funded mental health hotline, available to all and any Californians in need of free crisis support. In France, President Macron announced only this month that therapy sessions will soon be free for citizens below a certain income bracket.
This year at Luminate too, we’ve been hearing more stories from around the world, as our virtual sessions (digitised because of the pandemic) enabled us connect with clients in the USA, Singapore and Bangladesh.
The pandemic resulting in us becoming better connected, hearing new and different viewpoints, and learning more about international mental health is, I think, one of the more positive stories to come out of the past 18 months.
On a personal level, World Mental Health Day is a much-needed reminder for me to check in with my wellbeing and mental health. This year I experienced some really challenging times with health anxiety and panic disorder, so I also see it as an opportunity to be proud of myself for getting through these difficult experiences.
From a wider perspective, I think awareness days like World Mental Health Day are such a good reminder for us all to check in with our loved ones and take that extra time to ask people how they’re doing and lend a supportive ear.
So, what does World Mental Health Day mean for you and your workplace? We’d love to hear your stories on how the pandemic has affected wellbeing in your workplace and what you have found inspiring or helpful over the past year. Share with us on social media.