World Mental Health Day 2016
You can create your own #MentalHealthPromise via Mental Health Australia to celebrate World Mental Health Day. Mental Health Australia/Official Facebook page

World Mental Health Day is a global event celebrated every October 10th to spread mental health advocacy, awareness and education.

The inaugural day was first celebrated in 1992 and was initiated by the global mental health organisation World Federation for Mental Health, which has members and advocates in over 150 countries. Supporters from all over the world celebrate this yearly awareness program to recognise mental illness and the damage it does to those affected.

Mental illness, in this day and age, is still commonly belittled. Depression is something that most people believe will eventually pass in a day or two. When a person suffering from mental illness initially opens up to a companion, the usual advice would be to just “cheer up.”

Persons affected by a mental illness are generally discriminated, which is why most of them would rather keep it to themselves than talk about what they are going through or seek help. The stigma makes their situation a lot harder.

According to the World Health Organisation, depression will be the leading illness worldwide by 2030 if certain issues are not acted upon urgently.

The theme for this year is “Psychological First Aid.” The day highlights mental health advocates and their struggles to provide better mental health care for those in need.

In Australia, a week-long initiative called Mental Health Week is celebrated annually since 1985.

Mental Health Australia invites people to be proactive and to take time to look after one’s mental health and well-being. Its theme for this year’s Mental Health Day is “Mental Health Begins with ‘Me.’”

They encourage people to make a “promise” via social media to do any act that will be beneficial to their own current mental state.

“It doesn’t matter if you have a mental illness, care for someone with a mental illness, know someone with a mental illness or just care about good mental health, you can be part of this year’s campaign,” they said.