Home Ed. 2019 October Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness

World Mental Health Day 2019, celebrated every year to help raise awareness and support of mental health issues around the world.

World Mental Health Day is an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. It was ?rst celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.

NAMI and participants across the country raise awareness of mental illness. Each year, we educate the public, ?ght stigma and provide support.

The object of making suicide prevention the theme of World Mental Health Day in 2019 is to attract the attention of governments so that the issue might be given priority in public health agendas around the world.

Every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide. Join us, on 10 October, in “40 seconds of action” to raise awareness of the scale of suicide around the world and the role that each of us can play to help prevent it.

For every suicide there are many more people who attempt suicide every year. A prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide in the general population. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds. 79% of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries. Ingestion of pesticide, hanging and ?rearms are among the most common methods of suicide globally. Every year close to 800 000 people take their own life and there are many more people who attempt suicide. Every suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and entire countries and has long-lasting effects on the people left behind. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds globally in 2016. Suicide does not just occur in high-income countries, but is a global phenomenon in all regions of the world. In fact, over 79% of global suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2016. Suicide is a serious public health problem; however, suicides are preventable with timely, evidence-based and often low-cost interventions. For national responses to be effective, a comprehensive multisectoral suicide prevention strategy is needed. Who is at risk? While the link between suicide and mental disorders (in particular, depression and alcohol use disorders) is well established in high-income countries, many suicides happen impulsively in moments of crisis with a breakdown in the ability to deal with life stresses, such as financial problems, relationship break-up or chronic pain and illness. In addition, experiencing con?ict, disaster, violence, abuse, or loss and a sense of isolation are strongly associated with suicidal behaviour. Suicide rates are also high amongst vulnerable groups who experience discrimination, such as refugees and migrants; indigenous peoples; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) persons; and prisoners. By far the strongest risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt. Methods of suicide It is estimated that around 20% of global suicides are due to pesticide self-poisoning, most of which occur in rural agricultural areas in low- and middle-income countries. Other common methods of suicide are hanging and ?rearms. Knowledge of the most commonly used suicide methods is important to devise prevention strategies which have shown to be effective, such as restriction of access to means of suicide. Prevention and control Suicides are preventable. There are a number of measures that can be taken at population, sub-population and individual levels to prevent suicide and suicide attempts. These include: reducing access to the means of suicide (e.g. pesticides, ?rearms, certain medications); reporting by media in a responsible way; school-based interventions; introducing alcohol policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol; early identi?cation, treatment and care of people with mental and substance use disorders, chronic pain and acute emotional distress; training of non-specialized health workers in the assessment and management of suicidal behaviour; follow-up care for people who attempted suicide and provision of community support. Suicide is a complex issue and therefore suicide prevention efforts require coordination and collaboration among multiple sectors of society, including the health sector and other sectors such as education, labour, agriculture, business, justice, law, defense, politics, and the media. These efforts must be comprehensive and integrated as no single approach alone can make an impact on an issue as complex as suicide. Challenges and obstacles Stigma and taboo Stigma, particularly surrounding mental disorders and suicide, means many people thinking of taking their own life or who have attempted suicide are not seeking help and are therefore not getting the help they need. The prevention of suicide has not been adequately addressed due to a lack of awareness of suicide as a major public health problem and the taboo in many societies to openly discuss it. To date, only a few countries have included suicide prevention among their health priorities and only 38 countries report having a national suicide prevention strategy. Raising community awareness and breaking down the taboo is important for countries to make progress in preventing suicide. Data quality Globally, the availability and quality of data on suicide and suicide attempts is poor. Only 80 Member States have good-quality vital registration data that can be used directly to estimate suicide rates. This problem of poor-quality mortality data is not unique to suicide, but given the sensitivity of suicide – and the illegality of suicidal behaviour in some countries – it is likely that under-reporting and misclassification are greater problems for suicide than for most other causes.

World Mental Health Day 2019: Four Lifestyle Changes Which Could Boost Your Mental Health Increasing the number of fruit and vegetables in your diet is one way to help give your mental health a boost.

GIVE UP ALCOHOL

A new study published earlier this year, which looked at 10,386 adults, found that both men and women who were lifetime abstainers from alcohol had the highest level of mental well-being at the start of the study. In addition, women who were moderate drinkers — de?ned as seven drinks or less per week — and who quit drinking during the study, bene?ted from a boost to their mental health, with levels of mental well-being close to those of lifetime abstainers within four years of quitting.

REDUCE THE TIME YOU SPEND ON SOCIAL MEDIA

With the rise of social media, many studies have looked into its effect on our mental health. A UK study that surveyed 12,866 teens aged 13 to 16 found that checking one’s phone several times a day was associated with lower mental well-being, especially in young girls, possibly due to social media use affecting sleep and physical activity, which are linked with improved mental health. A US study which looked at adults who spent one hour a day on Fa-cebook also found that those who quit the social media site not only reported feeling happier, but also increased their time spent doing of?ine activities such as socialising with family and friends.

EAT LESS JUNK FOOD AND MORE FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

Increasing the amount of fruit and veggies in your diet could also give your mental health a boost. In a study published earlier this year, US researchers looked at data gathered from 245,891 telephone surveys and found that adults who ate a high consumption of unhealthy food, such as French fries, fast food, and soda and a lower consumption of healthy food, such as fruits and vegetables, were more likely to report symptoms of either moderate or severe psychological distress than those who ate a healthier diet. The researchers added that the ?ndings are in line with those from other studies carried out in other countries, which have also found a link between a poor diet and mental illness.

TRY TAKING A NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT

In addition to eating more fruits and vegetables, results published last month from the world’s largest-ever review on nutritional supplements and mental health symptoms suggested that taking certain supplements could help with some mental health conditions, when taken in conjunction with conventional treatments. The research, which looked at 33 meta-analyses with a total of 10,951 people, found strong evidence that omega-3 could help reduce depressive symptoms more than antidepressants alone, and some evidence that the amino acid N-acetyl-cysteine could be bene?cial for mood disorders and schizophrenia. Certain folate supplements may also be effective for major depression and schizophrenia.

-World Health Organization