World Mental Health Day 2021: Creating An Equal World With Equal Access

We all have mental health problems no matter what is our background, walk of life, or line of business. The probability of developing mental health problems is influenced by a lot of things but mainly our biological makeup and the situations in which we are born and brought up, influence the most. These problems are not equally distributed, the ones who face the greatest disadvantages in life also face the greatest threats to their mental health. 

Mental illness isn’t just limited to our country or any other particular country, it is a global problem. About 3.8% of the world population suffers from depression including 5.0% among adults and 5.7% among adults older than 60 years. 

To tackle and do away with all these losses of human lives, an organization named The World Federation for Mental Health declared 10th October as the World Mental Health Day. The first world mental health day was celebrated in 1992 where more than 150 countries were present. 

The goal of this day is to raise mental health awareness, educate people about mental health and fight against various social stigmas. All of us can contribute by making sure that other people who are dealing with mental health problems can live better lives with dignity. 

Theme for world mental health day 2021

Every year this day is celebrated with a theme, these themes are also decided by The World Federation for Mental Health. The theme of the day is based on the particular year’s hardships or targets, for example, this year’s theme is ‘Mental Health is an Unequal World.” This theme was chosen because our world is increasingly polarized, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

2020 was hard for everyone and it also highlighted the inequalities due to race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, education level, geographic location, and socioeconomic status. 

These inequalities have strongly impacted many people’s mental health and increased their stress. The 2021 theme will enable us to focus on how to remove or lessen the differences in the quality, access, healthcare, and mental health services. 

Imbalance in accessing and quality of mental health care

The theme is based on the growing unmet need for mental health services all over the world. While some developed countries provide quality health care to their people, there are also other developing or underdeveloped countries lacking in providing health care. 

There can be a lack of socioeconomic resources such as not having employment or limited access to resources that can influence the course of developing mental health problems. There are other disparities too such as spatial disparities, educational disparities, ethnic and racial disparities, LGBTQ disparities and predictors, sex and gender disparities 

Such differences are referred to as mental health inequalities. 

Inequalities in mental health: The facts

  • Men and women from the African Caribbean communities living in the UK have higher rates of developing post-traumatic stress disorder. They are also more likely to be suicidal and diagnosed with schizophrenia. 
  • People from the LGBTQ community have higher rates of developing common mental health problems and lower well-being than heterosexual people.
  • Children from the poorest 20% of families are 4 times more likely to have serious mental health issues than the wealthiest 20%.
  • Women are twice more likely to be depressed than men 
  • Children and young people with disabilities are three times more likely to have mental health problems than an average person
  • Deaf people are twice more likely to face mental health difficulties than an average person
  • African Americans and Latinos are more likely to be depressed than the whites

Ways to provide mental health care

For this year’s mental health day, a lot of preparations are going on. Many countries have found new ways of providing mental health care to their people such as :

Telehealth

Telehealth means consulting with a health care provider via phone call or video conference. This way offers multiple advantages for mental health treatments. Telehealth reduces the cost of the services, makes people more comfortable. and improves access for patients who are unable to see a professional in person. 

Mobile Apps

There are limitless apps available on the Play store which offer benefits for helping people stay sober. Some paid apps automatically connect you to a mental health professional and the others offer you daily meditations, alcohol consumption trackers, and access to visualisation exercises. 

Integration with primary care 

Adding frontline practitioners and screening processes within primary care practices will help the patients interact with the health care system in a better way. This way will increase access to mental health care and the practitioners can screen more patients, implement straightforward treatments and maintain consultation. This structure is called collaborative care and demonstrates better mental health care. 

Tools to ease depression on this world mental health day

Technology presents an opportunity to block mental health problems across the globe. The same technology created many tools to treat depression and problems related to it. The two most popular tools that help in easing depression are:

  • Wearable headset- A Sweden-based health tech company named Flow Neuroscience created a medical-grade headset for brain stimulation. The headset is a combination of psychology, technology, and neuroscience. It sends out gentle electric pulses through a person’s brain, targeting various parts of the brain and seeing which part of it is affected by depression. 
  • Breathing sensors- An American company named Spire created a sensor that measures breathing to help people to take control of their physical and mental health. These sensors can be attached to the clothes you are wearing which will monitor both your breathing and heart rate. 
Music Therapy

All of us love to hear music and some of us may not realize that it really helps us to cope up with our problems. This therapy involves regular meetings with a qualified music therapist which may improve mood through emotional expression. Or else you can just listen to your favorite playlist when you are feeling low. It is not as effective as physical therapy but it still reduces depressive symptoms and anxiety. 

Don’t forget to celebrate the day and reach out to the people who might need your help. Operate on a more efficient level with the right therapist and necessary medication. Have a happy world mental health day!

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