Good mental health is crucial for us to operate at our best and give our best to those around us. That’s why we should all be alarmed by recent data shared by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggesting that mental health conditions are on the rise. The WHO’s research shows that around one-fifth of children and adolescents worldwide are currently living with a mental health condition. At the height of the pandemic, a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that of the American adult surveyed, 31% reported feeling depressed or anxious, 13% admitted to having started or increased substance abuse, 26% reported experiencing stress-related symptoms, and 11% reported having suicidal thoughts. Some truly alarming admissions and more evidence (if we needed it) that investing in mental health is no longer a luxury but it is now a necessity.
Today is World Mental Health Day with this year’s theme being ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World.’ It aims to raise awareness of the inequality in access to mental health care, both locally and globally, for marginalized people and those living in poverty. According to UN data, the majority of global suicides occur in low-income countries so enhancing mental health needs to become a top priority for governments and communities. Other groups that are particularly vulnerable are people living in challenging humanitarian situations such as refugees, the displaced, those living in conflict zones or famines. The UN has the promotion of mental health and wellbeing as one of its sustainable development goals, and each of us should take it as seriously in our own lives.
We can all enhance our own mental health by making a few small but thoughtful changes to how we live our lives, how we spend our time, and how we process our thoughts. For example, making time to exercise does wonders for our body and mind, taking time for ourselves allows stress levels to subside, taking time out with our families builds better bonds and relationships, and thinking more positively opens our mind up to endless possibilities for growth.
All over the globe, organizations are taking their duty of care towards employees more and more seriously. Corporate Wellness Programs are becoming increasingly notable in high-performing companies. Employers understand that mental wellbeing and great productivity go hand in hand… Because happy people make engaged employees, and engaged employees are more motivated, competent, and conscientious. It’s really that simple.
I wish you all the best with managing your mental health – and urge anyone experiencing challenges to please reach out to a trusted friend or relative or mental health professional.
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