Mental Illness Awareness Week 2023 - All You Need to Know
Your mental well-being is as important as your physical well-being and plays a critical role in your success and healthy growth. Mental health refers to one’s emotional, psychological, and emotional well-being that helps the individual cope with their stress, achieve their goals, and contribute to society by learning and working well. It plays an integral role in building relationships and shaping the world by making correct decisions.
Every year, we commemorate Mental Health Awareness Week to help raise awareness about mental health conditions, signs, and preventive measures at a global scale.
What is Mental Illness Awareness Week?
Mental Illness Awareness Week is celebrated all over the world during the first week of October—October 1 to October 7. During this week, several campaigns, drives, and awareness programmes are held throughout the world to raise awareness about the less discussed aspect of well-being, mental health and disorders, due to taboo or embarrassment prevailing in societies. The awareness program helps individuals suffering in silence come forward, understand the cause, and get better with treatment and counselling.
Importance of Mental Health Awareness in Today’s World
Mental health awareness is crucial in today’s world due to the rise of mental illnesses and disorders among adults and teenagers. Approximately 8 million deaths are caused by mental disorders every year globally, whereas every 1 in 4 individuals suffers from mental illness at some point in their lives. Mental health is usually less talked about or shared with others due to social pressure, as people consider it a taboo. As a result, people at their preliminary stage of mental illness start neglecting it until their illnesses become a huge barrier to their successful and happy life, leading to depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
Determinants of Mental Health
Several different factors determine an individual's mental health conditions. These factors sometimes work collaboratively and influence one's mental status. They are as follows:
- Psychological and biological factors: emotional vulnerability, substance abuse and genetics influence mental health status
- Social and geopolitical exposure: Poverty, violence, and inequality can increase the risk of mental disorders among young individuals.
- Childhood trauma or risks: Harsh parenting and physical abuse can lead to severe mental disorders while growing up.
- Other factors: poor education, workload, and community clash are among such factors that affect one’s mental health.
Mental Illness Awareness Week 2023: Dates and Theme
Mental Illness Awareness Week is celebrated across the world during the first week of October. In 2023, the theme of Mental Illness Awareness Week is anxiety.
Anxiety is a normal emotion, however, anyone can get overwhelmed by this emotion which can later develop into a mental illness. This directly hampers one’s overall health. Several things can trigger this emotion, such as work or exam pressure, relationships, new jobs or substance abuse and withdrawal.
Types of Mental Health Disorders
Mental health is linked with an individual’s overall well-being, emotion and behaviour. Mental health disorders can affect daily life activities, relations, and quality of life. The symptoms can be mild or severe depending upon the stage of mental illness. There are broadly four types of mental disorders.
It is characterised by a distorted emotional state caused by substance abuse and comprises the following disorders:
- Severe depression
Anxiety disorders are usually caused by medical conditions and characterised by extreme worries and increased heart attack and comprises
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Panic attack
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
What is Anxiety
Anxiety is our natural response to uncertainty. We feel anxious about our performance, results, peer pressure, cost of living, and maintaining relationships with others. Anxiety can not only affect us emotionally but also physically. It can hamper sleep, focus and body weight. We must be aware of the early signs of anxiety and seek medical help or counselling immediately.
Signs of Anxiety:
People undergoing severe anxiety might exhibit the following symptoms:
- Increased heart rate
- Loss of appetite
- Heaviness in chest or chest pain
It is characterised by disruptive patterns of thinking and is usually a lifelong illness. People with such disorders would require medical treatment to help avoid harm to themselves or others. Personality disorder is also of different types:
- Paranoid personality disorder
- Schizoid personality disorder
- Schizotypal personality disorder
This disorder comprises a group of mental illnesses that affect mental health. They are as follows:
- Brief psychotic disorder
How to get Involved in Mental Illness Awareness Week
You can get involved in Mental Illness Awareness Week 2023 and help yourself and others understand the importance of mental health and how we can bring down the cases of mental disorders by working collaboratively.
- Share your story: You can start by discussing your story and sharing how you coped with the disorder with friends or in a community group.
- Donate: Your small donation can help others tremendously by providing resources and medications to underprivileged people around the world. You can find several campaigns and NGOs online or working at the local level.
- Wear a Green Ribbon: The green ribbon is the international symbol of mental health awareness. You can wear one and show your support for the cause.
- Campaigns and Drives: Run a campaign or drive at your community level and raise awareness about the importance, signs and symptoms, and preventive measures on mental health among people.
Activities You Can Do During Mental Illness Awareness Week
Mental Illness Awareness Week is commemorated across the globe to raise awareness about mental health and help people suffering in silence to cope with the disorder effectively. Globally, 14.3% of deaths are attributed to mental disorders, and its prevalence has increased by 50% worldwide. Depression hits 300 million people across the world, and suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among people aged 15–29. As a result, it is crucial to understand the underlying causes of mental disorders and raise awareness about the preventive measures that can help tackle this global concern.
The following activities can help raise awareness:
- Collaborating with political leaders at a community level and helping them understand how a mentally healthy individual can bring productivity and prosperity to the community.
- Running a campaign at a local or community level can help raise awareness and get people involved at the ground level
- Fundraising is another way to raise awareness and provide resources to the underprivileged.
- Talking with your friends, family members and colleagues about the impact of mental health on daily life activities and productivity
Tips for Good Mental Health
Mental well-being is crucial for a healthy and productive life. Mental disorders, especially anxiety, affect millions of people worldwide and are one of the leading causes of suicides among the young generation. We can use the following techniques to cope with anxiety.
- 4-7-8 Breathing Technique: Breathe in through your nose while counting to 4 in your head, hold it and count it to 7, and breathe out through your mouth making a woosh sound while counting to 8. Repeat the process 3-4 times.
- Exercise: working out or doing yoga is a great way to relax and get rid of stress. You can start with gymming, swimming, yoga, aerobics, or just running.
- Relax in Nature: Go for a walk down the meadows or beach. You can also try gardening and planting saplings.
- Connect with People: Spending time with friends and family can help reduce anxiety. You can join a club or support group and discuss your challenges and lighten your heart.
- Rest: Getting quality sleep and rest is the most important thing to do to get rid of stress and anxiety. It helps in balancing hormones and stabilising the body.
- Eat Healthy: A poor diet can increase your risk of getting obese or underweight when facing anxiety. Eat healthy food and supplements that reduce stress and anxiety.
- Quit smoking and Drinking: Alcohol and smoking can increase your chances of getting depressed and anxious. It is better to avoid such habits.
- Seek Counselling: If you feel you are breaking down mentally and do not want to share it with your friends and family, then consult a counsellor and get immediate help.
- Supplements: Supplements, such as Ashwagandha and NMN, can help you relax, enhance your mood, and get rid of stress. Consult a healthcare professional before starting a regimen.
Mental Illness Awareness Week 2023 Events
Mental Health Foundation had organised various events during the “Mental Illness Awareness Week” to raise funds and awareness across the UK. They were as follows:
- Skydiving and adrenaline
- Walks, treks and hikes
Mental Health Awareness Week is commemorated annually to raise awareness of the importance of mental well-being and serves as a reminder of the profound impact that mental health has on our daily lives. Mental health disorders affect mostly the young generation and hence deteriorate the national useful resources and future. Together we can fight and help save millions of lives who are struggling in silence with depression and anxiety.
Mental Illness Awareness Week, NAMI.ORG
What is Mental Health? Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMSHA.ORG
Events and Fundraising, Mental Health Foundation, Mentalhealth.Org
Mental Health, World Health Organisation, WHO.int
Global Mental Health Statistics, Hopechest.org
D Saloni, Rodes-Guirao L, R Hannah, and R Max, Mental Health, Ourworldindata.org
1) Are mental health disorders genetic?
No, not all mental illnesses are genetic, although genes play a critical role in influencing mental health genetic and environmental factors both influence mental disorders.
2) Are mental health medications safe?
Yes, mental health medications and treatments are safe and effective. Always seek professional care and stick to the regimen.
3) Can mental health affect physical health?
Yes, mental disorders have physical impacts on the body, such as weight loss, obesity, and hormonal imbalance.
4) Does mental health affect students' lives?
Mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression affect teenagers and students the most globally. It is important to understand its signs and seek help immediately.
5) What mental health disorders are caused by alcohol?
Alcohol abuse can lead to depression, anxiety and anger issues. It is therefore recommended to avoid alcohol when dealing with mental health disorders.
6) When is Mental Health Day celebrated?
October 10 is World Mental Health Day. This day is celebrated across the world to raise awareness and funds to deal with mental health problems that affect millions of people globally.
7) Can mental illness be cured?
Curing a mental illness depends on the stage at which the individual starts receiving the treatment and counselling. Advanced levels of mental disorders such as panic attacks, depression and severe anxiety take much time to recover.
8) Do supplements help prevent anxiety and depression?
Yes, Ayurvedic ingredients like Ashwagandha can help relax your mind and fight anxiety and mood swings.