The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes this Saturday, October 10, 2020, as World Mental Health Day. The goal of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign is increased investment in mental health.
In July more than 90% of people who responded to a nationwide survey conducted by Harvard Medical School and the University of North Carolina of Medicine reported feeling increased worry, frustration, boredom or anxiety during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
It’s safe to say that everyone’s mental health has been affected in 2020.
The past months have brought many challenges:
- For health-care workers, providing care in difficult circumstances, going to work fearful of bringing COVID-19 home with them;
- For students, adapting to taking classes from home, with little contact with teachers and friends, and anxious about their futures;
- For workers, whose livelihoods are threatened;
- For the vast number of people caught in poverty or in fragile humanitarian settings with extremely limited protection from COVID-19; and
- For people with mental health conditions, many experiencing even greater social isolation than before. And this is to say nothing of managing the grief of losing a loved one, sometimes without being able to say goodbye.
The economic consequences of the pandemic are already being felt, as companies let staff go in an effort to save their businesses, or indeed shut down completely.
Although many of us could use psychosocial support now more than ever, investment in mental health programs at the national and international levels has suffered from years of chronic underfunding.
For those of you uncertain about where to turn in the face of anxiety, worry, frustration or fear, start by checking out https://www.mentalhealth.gov/talk/community-conversation to find resources available in your community. Many resources are available in Spanish and language assistance is available.