On Oct. 10, World Mental Health Day was celebrated to raise awareness and support of mental health issues. The celebration is a campaign organized by the World Health Organization. This year, the slogan was “Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality.”
According to the World Health Organization, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted people’s mental health.
“Some groups, including health and other frontline workers, students, people living alone, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions, have been particularly affected,” WHO said on their website. “Services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders have been significantly disrupted.”
In May 2021 during the World Health Assembly, several country’s leaders recognized the need for more mental health services, as some nations have found different ways to provide mental health care to their populations.
The WHO campaign looked to showcase the efforts of these governments, as well as personal achievements.
“[We] encourage you to highlight positive stories as part of your own activities, as an inspiration to others,” WHO said.
The pandemic, however, is not the only cause of mental health issues. Among other things, stress, anxiety, poor self-esteem, trouble in social environments and depression have challenged people’s quality of life for a very long time.
According to WHO, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15- and 29-year-olds.
Tina Winn, chair of the Division of Education and Behavioral and Social Sciences at Oklahoma Christian University, said mental health is an issue most people deal with in their lifetime.
“The majority of people either deal (with mental health issues) themselves or have a family member or close friend,” Winn said. “One in four people, generally that’s the statistics that are provided, will have a mental health issue.”
Winn said mental health day is important to break the stigma around the subject.
“It helps create that awareness and understanding to fight against the stigma so that maybe people will seek treatment, will be more generous when they know someone who’s dealing with a mental health issue,” Winn said.
Associate Professor of Psychology and Family Science, Jonathan Miller, said having a World Mental Health Day is important to educate people on mental health.
“We are all aware of physical health problems. We are comfortable going to doctor’s offices when we have physical health [issue], but for some reason we still don’t treat mental health the same way,” Miller said. “We might not be aware there are resources to help us when we’re working through mental health issues.”
Miller said managing time and having good coping strategies to deal with stress are helpful to students.
“We try to fit too much activity in too little amount of time, so, be more aware of how much time we have in the day budgeting out things that must happen,” Miller said. “That would be a big factor. Another one is, just be aware of sources of stress, and my reactions to them. There are some sources of stress I can’t change, they are going to be there, but I can change what I think about them.”
Winn said to deal with stressful situations, students should take one step at a time.
“Break something big in parts that we can handle. It is always more stressful when something is really big,” Winn said. “If I got a 10-page paper to write, I just need to get started and do something, and once I start breaking that down, it feels much more manageable.”
Winn said the next step on dealing with mental health is having more resources in society to handle mental health issues.
“(The next step is) providing all of those structures around so that people have the same kinds of benefits that we have whenever we have a physical illness,” Winn said.
For more information on mental health, visit who.in/health-topics. Oklahoma Christian also provides a counseling service to all its students, faculty and staff.