World Mental Health Day is critical for raising awareness
October 6, 2023
World Mental Health Day is critical for raising awareness, but it’s about what we do for the remaining 364 days that makes the difference
The rise in mental health challenges is an alarming trend that needs our attention. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 700,000 people die by suicide every year, and it was the fourth leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds globally in 2019.
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life, often neglecting our mental health. However, mental health is just as crucial as physical health, if not more so, when leading a fulfilling life. How can we play our part in society and help reduce the increasing number of people suffering daily?
World Mental Health Day (10th October 2023)
WHO says, World Mental Health Day is observed annually to “raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health.” It is crucial in destigmatising mental health conditions and promoting understanding and empathy. It allows individuals, organisations, and communities to collaborate and advocate for better mental health support systems. By raising awareness, World Mental Health Day helps to reduce discrimination, encourages early intervention, and promotes access to appropriate treatment options.
While addressing general mental health concerns is essential, raising awareness and broadening our understanding of the diverse range of mental health challenges people face with lesser-known conditions is equally important. FINN Partners supports and lends its resources to many charities and causes, including our colleague, Lucy Jones, a Senior Account Executive in our health practice. She is on the board of EmetAction, the first Emetophobia charity, supporting and giving hope to individuals with a specific phobia of vomiting. Although it may not receive as much attention as other conditions, her contribution shows that even less-discussed conditions can significantly impact daily life. World Mental Health Day serves as a reminder that mental health is a universal concern that impacts individuals in many ways and people from all walks of life.
In Europe, antidepressant consumption has doubled in the last 20 years
Our World in Data reports that approximately 1 in 5 men and 1 in 3 women will encounter major depression. Other mental health conditions are less common, like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but they still significantly impact humankind. According to Euronews, data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) revealed antidepressant use in 18 European countries increased nearly two and a half times from 2000 to 2020.
WHO highlights that in 2019, 970 million people worldwide – a substantial one in eight people – lived with a mental health disorder, with depression and anxiety being the most common disorders. The prevalence of anxiety and depressive disorders increased in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, unrelated to the pandemic, in 2016, Germany saw a 46% rise in antidepressant use over a four-year period. As for Spain and Portugal, there was at least a 20% increase in medication usage for depression. During this period, the people using medication for depression included those as young as 12 years of age.
Ways individuals can contribute
As individuals, we can play a unique role in building communities and shaping public opinion. Inclusivity fosters empathy and encourages individuals with less common conditions to seek support and share their experiences. In the words of our Chair of Global Health and Purpose, Gil Bashe, “People seek to be inspired and guided by people with a heart and conscience.”
In a recent blog, my colleague Barry Reicherter, Global Head of Research and Insights, looked at supporting workplace mental health and, along with Betsy Henning, the head of the FINN Partners Employee Engagement Practice, delivered a thought provoking webinar on workplace mental health. They covered insightful research from our Global Intelligence team on employee mental health and offered solutions for companies looking to create healthier workplace cultures for their employees.
Taking care of our mental health doesn’t require grand gestures. Simple practices like mindfulness meditation, regular exercise, and a strong support system can go a long way in promoting mental well-being. Additionally, seeking professional help when needed should never be stigmatised; it’s a sign of strength, not weakness.