Thoughts on This World Mental Health Day

  1. Grassroots initiatives — stigma is real all over the globe and it prevents people from getting the care they need. By investing in grassroots initiatives, where trusted people in the community are trained with basic mental health first aid skills, it is possible to support those presenting with mental health concerns early — before they may require hospitalisation. This is working within a model of prevention and promoting stigma-reduction. Double win!
  2. Education — You can have the most state-of-the-art technology in the world, but if people are unable to recognise that they need help and how they might access it, it’s useless. Mental health education should be implemented in all secondary schools to support and empower young people to look after their mental health and how and when to get support should they need it.
    By educating young people, this knowledge will filter down through to the older generations as well. It’s a simple, cost-effective solution that could help countless people.
  3. Poverty reduction — It’s not a coincidence that poverty and mental health issues are inextricably linked. This is a real “chicken or the egg” conundrum. I think we can all agree that if those who need the support can’t access it, it’s useless.
    By pricing low-income families out of the care they need or by hoarding all of the mental health services in the large, developed cities, we are actively putting up unnecessary barriers to treatment to the most vulnerable.
    In order to tackle poor mental health, we must tackle the mass inequity in society. It’s not enough to allocate health budget to mental health services while so many live below the poverty line. We must also invest in infrastructure and increase wages to increase quality of life and overall wellbeing.
  4. Increased representation — By promoting positive representations of those with mental health concerns in the media, we increase inclusivity and reduce stigma. We still have a long way to go with this, but things are improving.
    We need our politicians and celebrities to be more open about their personal struggles. We need to see more people willing to discuss mental health and how common it is to suffer from mental health difficulties at some point in our lives. By normalising mental health concerns, we are empowering people to take control of their mental healthcare.
  5. Promotion of free modalities — There are so many ways to improve your mental health that are free. Breathwork, exercise and yoga and improved community connection are just a few of these.
    Medication doesn’t have to be the default response to combatting the mental health crisis.

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