World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day

Updated Oct 10, 2018 at 02:15PM EDT by Matt.

Added Oct 10, 2018 at 01:51PM EDT by Matt.

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World Mental Health Day is a day of awareness, advocacy end education for the study and promotion of the importance of mental health. In addition, the day serves as a reminder to those struggling with mental illness both diagnosed and undiagnosed that health is available. The day also serves to fight against the social stigma against mental illness.


The first World Mental Health Day was celebrated on October 10th, 1992. Founded by the World Federation for Mental Health, the day serves as global reminder of the importance of mental health and was celebrated in more than 150 countries.[1][2] According to the WFMH:

"The Day had no specific theme. Its aims were general ones of promoting mental health advocacy and educating the public on relevant issues. In the first three years one of the central activities to mark the Day was a two-hour telecast broadcast globally through the US information agency satellite system from studios in Tallahassee, Florida. WFMH Board members participated from the studio, with live telephone participation from Australia, Chile, England and Zambia and pre-taped segments from Geneva, Atlanta and Mexico City. In the first such telecast we realized that we were indeed reaching far afield, because there was an unanticipated and unscheduled telephone call-in from Swaziland, where a group of WFMH members had gathered to view to the program. And that year the very first of many feed-back reports came from Peru."



For the 1994 WMHD, Secretary General Eugene Brody suggested using a theme for the holiday. They selected the first theme: "Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World."

Two years later, themes became a staple of the promotion (list of themes below).

  • 1996 Women and Mental Health
  • 1997 Children and Mental Health
  • 1998 Mental Health and Human Rights
  • 1999 Mental Health and Ageing
  • 2000-2001 Mental Health and Work
  • 2002 The Effects of Trauma and Violence on Children & Adolescents
  • 2003 Emotional and Behavioural Disorders of Children & Adolescents
  • 2004 The Relationship Between Physical & Mental Health: co-occurring disorders
  • 2005 Mental and Physical Health Across the Life Span
  • 2006 Building Awareness – Reducing Risk: Mental Illness & Suicide
  • 2007 Mental Health in A Changing World: The Impact of Culture and Diversity
  • 2008 Making Mental Health a Global Priority: Scaling up Services through Citizen Advocacy and Action
  • 2009 Mental Health in Primary Care: Enhancing Treatment and Promoting Mental Health
  • 2010 Mental Health and Chronic Physical Illnesses
  • 2011 The Great Push: Investing in Mental Health
  • 2012 Depression: A Global Crisis
  • 2013 Mental Health and Older Adults
  • 2014 Living with Schizophrenia
  • 2015 Dignity in Mental Health
  • 2016 Psychological and Mental Health First Aid
  • 2017 Mental Health in the Workplace
  • 2018 Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World

Online Presence

Those promoting the holiday on social media typically do so using the hashtag "#WorldMentalHealthDay." Throughout the day, people share stories and pieces of information that aim to help normalize treatment. For example, on October 10th, 2018, Twitter [3] user @matthaig1 tweeted, "Mental health problems are NOT – luxuries – fashionable – weakness – first world problems – insults – solved by pulling yourself together – less real than other heath issues – a result of talking – character flaws – taken as seriously as they should be #WorldMentalHealthDay." The tweet received more than 7,000 retweets and 13,000 likes in 24 hours (shown below, left).

Throughout the day, people continued to share their own takes on the holiday as well as information on receiving treatment and their own personal stories.

Mental health problems are NOT - luxuries - fashionable - weakness first world problems insults solved by pulling yourself together less real than other heath issues a result of talking character flaws taken as seriously as they should be #WorldMenta!HealthDay Hari Kondabolu Ф @harikondabolu I get emotional thinking about the first day I woke up & my life didn't just feel like a continuation of all the sad, long yesterdays before it. It was finally tomorrow. Depression is real & treatable & there's nothing to be embarrassed about. #WorldMental HealthDay Today is a special day. My boyfriend is 7 years clean and sober. (We met in AA) If you are struggling with addiction please know that there's hope on the other side. Hang on, never give up and know that the most courageous thing you can do is ask for help #WorldMenta!HealthDay

Media Coverage

Numerous media outlets have covered World Mental Health Day, including CNN,[4] BBC,[5] Forbes[6] and more.

Search Interest

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