World Mental Health Day 2019: Significance, history and theme
‘You’re overthinking. The issue isn’t this big.’ ‘Just exercise every day, everything will be fine.’ ‘You are not trying enough. There’s no such thing as depression’ ‘Look at everybody else, they all do what you are doing but you are the only one who keeps cribbing.’
Explaining that one doesn’t feel good from within isn’t as easy as it seems to be. The masses don’t understand what it’s like to live with mental morbidity. Since ages, people having mental illness have been treated as outcasts and not considered healthy enough to be involved in our everyday activities. The apathy people show towards mentally unsound people is unfortunate and devastating.
Feelings of loneliness, fear of abandonment, disinterest in daily activities and having a hopeless outlook are a few common symptoms of various mental illnesses and conditions. Therefore, the trauma such people experience cannot be seen or felt by anybody, just them.
October 10 is World Mental Health Day. World Federation for Mental Health announced 10th October as World Mental Health Day in 1992 and celebrates it with a new theme every year. This year, the initiative is being supported by the World Health Organisation(WHO), the International Association for Suicide Prevention and United for Global Mental Health.
Every year about 800,000 people die due to suicide, which makes it one suicide every 40 seconds. Hence, this year’s theme is “40 seconds of action”. The objective is to raise awareness about the surging numbers.
India makes up for 17% of the world’s population, and also records a high number of suicidal deaths.
Here are a few heart-rending revelations about the disturbing act which should raise your concerns about the mental health of people around you.
1. In India, around 2.2 lakh people die by suicide every year.
2. Most suicide deaths happen between people of age groups 15 to 39.
3. Women are more likely to die by suicide. India has the third-highest female suicide rate (14.7%) in the world.
4. India has a population of 1.35 billion and 6000 registered psychiatrists, which means for every 225,000 people there’s only one psychiatrist available.
5. India had adopted Sustainable Development Goals which are a part of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda in 2015 along with other countries. Improving mental health facilities is a key part of the agenda.
6. India has the highest suicide rate in South-East Asia.
7. In India, the state of Maharashtra has the highest suicide rate despite being one of the most advanced states.
8. At the time of Independence, there were approximately 10,000 beds in different mental health institutions for a population of 400 million. Over the last 70 years, the population has increased many folds while the number of beds increased to roughly 21000 which means that there is only 1 bed per 5000 people.
9. Three to ten people in every 1000 person have severe mental morbidity in India.