World Mental Health Day is celebrated globally on October 10. As we celebrate, this year's theme "Mental Health is a Universal Human Right" couldn't be more fitting. Every individual, regardless of their background, gender, age, or nationality, has the fundamental right to good mental health. According to the World Health Organization, one in four people will be affected by a mental health issue at some point in their lives. This underscores the pervasive nature of mental health challenges. Moreover, mental health is not just an absence of mental illness but a state of well-being where one can realize their potential, cope with life's stresses, and contribute to their community. Here are some ways we can safeguard this fundamental human right.
- Destigmatizing mental health conversations. Non-judgmental and compassionate discussions about mental well-being are vital.
- Prioritizing self-care. Take time for yourself, practice mindfulness, engage in hobbies, and get enough rest.
- Maintaining strong social connections and seeking professional help when needed can go a long way in managing our overall mental well-being.
- Promoting mental health awareness and advocating for policies that prioritize mental health care on a community level is essential. We can contribute by participating in community initiatives, volunteering, or supporting organizations that work to improve mental health access and services.
By recognizing mental health as a human right, we can foster a more compassionate and inclusive world where every individual can thrive.
Here are some local resources for accessing and advocating for mental health:
- Retriever Integrated Health (RIH) brings together UMBC's health and counseling services to all UMBC students and supports holistic well-being and success.
- National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) is a mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for individuals affected by mental illness.
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is voluntary health organization that advocates research and education around suicide.