In 1992, Richard Hunt created an awareness campaign called World Mental Health Day, which is now celebrated in more than 150 countries around the world to advocate, educate, and bring awareness about mental illness. October 10th is the annual observance day and each year supporters vote on a theme to highlight global mental health issues. For 2023, this year's theme is “Mental Health is a Universal Human Right”, which is focusing on how state and global organizations must take on responsibility to ensure access to mental health services for all citizens of the world.
Below are 10 ways that you can participate in this year’s World Mental Health Day to support mental health awareness, take care of your own mental health, learn more about mental illnesses, offer support to loved ones, and share with others how mental health is something every person should care about.
Spend some time outdoors: Vitamin D and fresh air are known to show improvement in people’s mental health. If you love to read, practice yoga, write, sing, listen to podcasts, paint, listen to music, dance, or play video games, try doing some of your favorite activities outside every once in a while.
Read books or listen to podcasts about mental health: Take a trip to your local library as it will likely have a variety of resources about mental health. Or if you enjoy listening to podcasts, try listening to podcasts that discuss mental health to learn more about topics such as coping skills to manage stress better, ways to keep a positive attitude, enhance relationships in your life, or just enjoy life more.
Try practicing meditation: There are apps available such as Headspace or Calm that make self-care activities like meditation easily accessible. Find some time during your day to give meditation a try and see if you can add it to your toolkit of coping skills.
Reach out to a loved one: Check in on a friend or a family member who lives with a mental illness. By giving them a call, text, email, or visit, this can be meaningful and supportive.
Share mental health resources: Sharing mental health resources at school, work, or in your community can help make it easier for people to get the help they may need. This can easily be done through sharing resources on social media pages or making flyers to hand out or available to others at school, work, or a place in the community.
Wear mental health on your sleeve (literally): Show others that you are a safe person they can talk to by wearing apparel with mental health messages and support. You never know if the person you walk by in the store or sidewalk may need to hear the important message on your shirt.
Attend an event in support of World Mental Health Day: A great way to spread awareness about mental health is by engaging or volunteering in community events to learn more about mental illnesses and connect with others. Check out the website eventbrite.com and search mental health to see what events in your community that you can find!
Celebrate good news: It can be easy to get caught up in negativity so take some time to research some good news to remind your brain that there is a lot of good in the world. Some popular websites to find cheerful news that will put a smile on your face include The Optimist Daily, Positive News, and Good News Network.
Check-in with your own mental health: World Mental Health Day can provide you the reminder to check-in on your own mental health. This can be done by either writing in a journal on how you’re feeling each day or taking a few minutes to really think about how you have been feeling that day. By practicing these reflection exercises, it can help you prioritize your mental health. If you find that you need additional assistance in managing your mental health, try finding a therapist that can help empower you and support you when facing life challenges.
Take a Mental Health Day: Self-care is a priority when managing one’s mental health. Take the day off to do something (or nothing) with a friend, family member, or just for yourself! It is also a good day to take the day off from doing chores or other stressors going on in your life.