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What is World Mental Health Day & Why Does it Matter?

In the last year and a half, the number of people seeking mental health treatment has skyrocketed. Teens, youth, adults, senior citizens, and even children of every race, ethnicity, background, and sexual orientation have experienced an increase in mental health problems. 

The problem of mental illness isn’t going to fix itself. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world have faced impossible challenges. As a society, we have been forced to distance ourselves; people have lost jobs, been financially unstable, worried constantly about the future, and felt incredibly isolated. 

So, what is World Mental Health Day? It is a day to focus on mental health. It is a chance to have hard conversations, check in with the people you love, check-in with yourself, and promote positive mental health. World Mental Health Day has been held on October 10 since 1992. 

Why does World Mental Health Day matter? Hopefully, you already have an idea, but if you don’t, you soon will. 

What Is World Mental Health Day?

There aren’t many days a year celebrated or even acknowledged by over 150 countries worldwide - but October 10 is. It is World Mental Health Day. 

That shows just how big of a deal mental health is across the globe. People from the United States, Japan, Samoa, South Africa, and Norway, and every other country, have suffered or been impacted directly by mental illnesses. 

World mental health day is an internationally recognized day to advocate for mental health awareness. It is a day that we can unite together as a human race and rally against stigmas around mental health. It is a day that we can show support for our families, friends, and strangers fighting a real battle against a real illness. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has some fantastic resources to check out about the World Mental Health Day campaign. 

History of World Mental Health Day

Mental health is not a new challenge. There has been an increase, especially this past year, but people have been struggling with keeping positive mental health for a long time. In 1992, the first World Mental Health Day was observed. The World Federation for Mental Health observed it; and it was actually started by Deputy Secretary-General Richard Hunter. 

He started it to help raise awareness for mental health, advocate for it, and promote doing the things that you need to do to improve your mental health. It was a day centered on education and awareness. 

Over the years, World Mental Health Day has evolved. Since 1996, each year has had a different theme that is focused on and emphasized on October 10. In the past, the themes have been Women and Mental Health (1996), Depression (2012), Building Awareness (2006), Relationship Between Physical and Mental Health (2004), Making Mental Health a Global Priority (2008), and Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (2019). 

This year, the theme and focus is “Mental Health in an Unequal World.” The theme refers to the physical unfairness of Coronavirus and many other inequalities that we are surrounded by every single day. 

In 1992 more than 150 countries observed World Mental Health Day. Now, in 2021, advocating for mental health is spreading worldwide. 

To read a complete history on World Mental Health Day, click here

How to Participate

Participating in World Mental Health Day is easy and convenient because you can participate in hundreds of different ways. 

Sit Down and Have a Conversation: Participating can be as simple as just sitting down with a friend, family member, or just someone you love and talking to them about mental health. Ask them how they have been doing. Ask what they do for self-care, ask if they have ever had suicidal thoughts, talk to them. Most importantly, listen to what they are saying. You can have a serious conversation or even a fun one where you talk about your self-care practices and hobbies. These non-intimidating conversations about mental health will make having those bigger and sometimes intimidating conversations a lot easier. It establishes trust, which is critical.

Share About Mental Health on Social Media: Sometimes, we think that posts about mental health need to be personal, intimate, and sometimes scary. While those might have a time and place, sharing about mental health can be simple. You can share a post by the WHO or other organizations. Just make sure you include the hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay. Together we can flood social media with positive messages about mental health, raise awareness, educate those around us, and break the stigma. 

Take Care of Yourself: We often hear messages about the importance of checking in with friends, family, and other loved ones. We are told to have hard conversations with them and be aware of mental illness in others. If you have been on an airplane, you know that they tell you in case of an emergency to help yourself first. You are instructed to put on your oxygen mask before helping those around you. Mental health contains similar recommendations. To help those around you, you need to take care of yourself first. A great way to participate in World Mental Health Day is to take care of yourself. 

Do you need some ideas?

  • Take a bath
  • Get outside
  • Put away your phone
  • Write three things you are grateful for
  • Schedule an appointment with a therapist
  • Work out
  • Just do something to take care of yourself

Use Resources Provided: There are hundreds of resources available to promote mental health every day, especially on October 10. The WHO has resources that can educate you. 

We also have several educational articles you might find helpful: 

We want to help you. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you have. 

Why Does World Mental Health Day Matter?

Everyone is impacted by mental illness and the troubles that come with it. We have seen a substantial increase in mental challenges, especially since COVID. We have also seen substance abuse disorders becoming more prevalent. This sort of substance abuse and addiction can negatively influence an individual and those around them. 

At Jackson House, we have a holistic view of helping people overcome these addictions. We help them get the support they need and offer a community of friends to help them overcome their addiction. We help educate and offer the tools individuals need to stay sober after they leave our addiction and recovery centers. 

World Mental Health Day is more than a day. It is a mindset. We need to work together to promote healthy lifestyles that can improve the mental health of everyone surrounding us. 


Earlier this year, governments from around the world agreed to increase mental health services. As a society, we are getting better by raising awareness and helping people commit to do and be better. 

Participating in World Mental Health Day is exciting, but we need to do these things every day. We can influence those around us for good and help make a difference in our lives and the lives of those we love. 

What are you going to do to participate? Let us know!

Contact us here at Jackson House if you have questions, or someone you love would benefit from our addiction and recovery program.

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