This year’s World Mental Health Day falls on a moment where the entire planet’s style of life has changed considerably as a result of COVID-19. We’ve all had to adapt to the many facets this virus has gone through. Starting with a complete unknown of how it worked, leading to a full lockdown of many countries’ liberties and reaching a new “normality” in different parts of the world, as the media has called it.
At first, the greatest threat this virus posed was to our physical health. It is estimated that by the time this article was written, nearly 37 million people have contracted the virus and over 1 million have died (1). However, now that we’ve become more aware and knowledgeable about it, our fears have become part of our daily lives and the stress that it entails is now the norm of everyday living.
For some that fears is in going to the grocery store and worrying about bringing it back home to our family. For others, it is the fear of getting a call with a sick patient or transferring a patient to a COVID hospital and, again, bringing it back home to our families. It is the invisible, silent reminder of everyday life that we are frail beings and subject to deadly diseases.
Personally, one of the greatest fears I have of this deadly virus is the possibility of not saying good bye to loved ones. In my country of origin, the sick are taken through the doors of COVID hospitals, isolated, and, sadly, many are never seen again. This is true for many countries and many protocols and this leads to an incomplete loss.
All this fear and uncertainty is only expected to grow and the need for mental health and phsychosocial support will increase as time passes for the next years. This is why the goal for World Mental Health Day 2020 is to increase investment in mental health.
The WHO ran an event this morning at 10 AM New York Time hosting a global advocacy on mental health. The objective of this event was to tell the world how we can all improve our mental health and what we can do to help others. This event was streamed over mayor social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn,Twitter, TikTok and Twitch lasting a little over two and a half hours. (2)
Also running today is the “Move for Mental Health: Let’s Invest” campaign from the WHO, United for Global Health and the World Federation for Mental Health. (3)
The online campaign offers different approaches and opportunities to help yourself and others; to take concrete in support of mental health. Head on to the WHO website to read more about this campaign and take action to improve mental health around the world.
1. WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard [Internet]. Covid19.who.int. 2020 [cited 10 October 2020]. Available from: https://covid19.who.int/
2. The Big Event for Mental Health [Internet]. Who.int. 2020 [cited 10 October 2020]. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2020/10/10/default-calendar/the-big-event-for-mental-health
3. World Mental Health Day [Internet]. Who.int. 2020 [cited 10 October 2020]. Available from: https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/world-mental-health-day-2020/world-mental-health-day-campaign