October 10th is World Mental Health Day! World Mental Health day is recognized annually by the World Health Organization (WHO) and celebrated internationally to raise awareness about mental health issues, promote advocacy against social stigma, and promote better mental health for all. This year’s theme announced by The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) is “make mental health and well-being a global priority for all.”
This theme reaffirms a major goal of NextGenU.org, the online platform of the Frank Foundation, which is to provide globally accessible opportunities for education, of which mental health is a major component. The Frank Foundation creates courses, curricula, and programs to train physicians and their teams to prevent and treat substance use disorders. Every course invites the learner to consider related addiction and mental health issues, which commonly co-occur. Our courses includes Global Mental Health, Management of Mental Health Disorders in Primary Care, Mental Health Nursing, Introduction to Mental Health Professions, and other mental health topics, to promote the requisite knowledge that enables the recognition of, and evidence-based treatment of mental health issues. We also place great emphasis on mental health literacy which plays a significant role in reducing this stigma surrounding mental health.
For us at the Frank Foundation, World Mental Health Day 2022 provides an ideal opportunity to remind our community of educators and public health professionals alike, that mental health problems are quite prevalent and increasing worldwide. A 2022 WHO report has indicated that there was a twenty-five (25) percent increase in anxiety and depression among people. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored this, as people continue to grapple with health, social and economic impacts, which widely affect mental health.
It is important to remember that mental health problems can often be treated effectively with medication, therapy, or a combination of both. Unfortunately, many people with mental health problems may go undiagnosed and/or not necessarily access the help they need. This is often because of the stigma surrounding mental health, or because of a lack of awareness of how to access help. In this regard, it is imperative that we continue to spread awareness about mental health issues and equip public health professionals with the skills and competencies required to recognize and treat mental health issues as a priority. Experts have contended that “there is no health without mental health” Just as one can seek and access help for a physical health problem, we should endeavor to provide similar access to treatment and support for a mental health problem.
We continue to ensure that Mental health is an integral part of public health discourse and take measures to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. In so doing, we support collaborative action to integrate mental health into primary health care and enhance community-based mental health services.
As we join the world in commemorating World Mental Health Day 2022, the NextGenU team remains committed to ensuring that through democratizing public health education globally, we empower public health professionals to place greater emphasis on mental health through promotion, prevention, and early intervention. Through these efforts, we contribute to the WHO’s vision of “a world in which mental health is valued, promoted and protected; where everyone has an equal opportunity to enjoy mental health and to exercise their human rights; and where everyone can access the mental health care they need.”