Today, the 10th of October 2020, is remarked as the world mental health day. The day was observed for the first time on the 10th of October 1992, with the aim of raising awareness and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health around the globe.
World Mental Health Day is usually themed with a matter of concern, as last years’ themes were about mental health in the workplace and young people and mental health, this year it is exacerbated by the impact of the current Global Pandemic. Covid-19 has widely imposed challenges on mental health, due to the major shift in our social life and daily habits. Needless to say, a general atmosphere of uncertainty and frustration due to the economic impact.
Arising from the belief that “the first step towards change is awareness”, we take the occasion to shine a light. on the various factors that can negatively impact our mental health, and what can we do to prevent it from happening.
Mental health issues affect 25% of the global population, yet, it’s still looked at with shame and underestimated in various parts around the globe. Economic uncertainty, social media and rising expectation of what life should be like have all led to an overall increase of 25% in mental disorders in the last two decades, with an annual steady increase of 1.25%.
The World Mental Health Day aims at shedding light on the issue and raising awareness regarding its causes, effects, and treatment. The more aware we become, the more we can protect our health and our loved ones.
Big cities impact
Nowadays, over half of the world’s population lives in urban areas. Although city life offers us plenty of opportunities and a vibrant lifestyle, it can also negatively affect our mental health. Cities inhabitants are at a 20% higher risk of having mental health issues than those living outside the city. Having a low mood and feeling helpless are commonly reported by people living in urban areas. The overload and increased stimulus such as; density, noise, crowds, sights can negatively impact our mental health. Fast-paced life is not in our favor when it comes to mental health.
Another factor that affects city dwellers’ mental health can be past experiences carried within individuals who recently moved to urban places. The need to escape something or the hope for a better life, such expectations can easily lead to frustration and dissatisfaction. Not to mention the diminished access to nature, long commuting times, and few hours of sleep.
Having a nature escape, or a healthy self-care routine can help to balance out the undesirable stimulus and allow us to enjoy the many positive aspects city life offers for us.
Another main factor – if not the biggest factor – that negatively impacts our mental health is the increasingly demanding work culture. With longer working hours, stressful environments, and a competitive mindset, work-life imposes serious challenges when it comes to mental health. Burnout is now more common, with one in 4 persons working full time reported they felt burned out more often than not.
Having a healthy work-life balance is vital when it comes to mental health. Monitoring the workload and reducing overtime can be positive steps towards a healthier work-life balance. Having flex-time and fair reward and recognition have a great positive impact on our overall mental health.
Women are more prone to some mental health issues
Mental health issues affect both men and women equally. However, women are more likely to have specific mental health issues compared to men. Women are twice as likely to experience anxiety and depression than men. The reason might be that women are more open when it comes to sharing their emotions and actively seek emotional relief. Alongside with various social factors that put women’s mental health at risk. Raising awareness can aid in taking proactive actions towards better mental health. Reflect on your relationships: cherish the supportive and avoid the destructive ones. Connecting with people is very efficient. Finally, self-care is proven to be very efficient in maintaining good mental health and wellbeing.
Ultimately, the positive news is that self-care is no longer an obscure concept. Its popularity is surging in the last years and had already resulted in a positive trend towards the collective mental health level. People are now investing more in activities and books about mental health and self-care, rather than self-improvement, dieting, or physical fitness. It is a positive shift in our societies and it cultivates a general mood of calmness and positivity.
With awareness and constant/healthy self-care practices, we can keep our mental health at a great level. After all, many aspects of life are a reflection of what we feel inside. Thriving in your career, having quality interpersonal relations, and sustaining a healthy relationship, all start from the same origin, YOU.
Share the article with someone who needs to read it, help to raise awareness and have an open approach when speaking about mental health.