October 10 is World Mental Health Day

The World Health Organization has marked October 10 as World Mental Health Day.  Held every year on October 10, the Day is intendend to raise awareness about mental health problems around the world and to mobilize treatment resources to help people in need.   The theme for 2014 is "Living With Schizophrenia" and focuses on how people with schizophrenia can live a healthy life with help from family members and the community. 

As part of the World Mental Health Day effort, the WHO has a special web page with links to resources that mental patients can access in their own community.   There are also information sheets describing the health problems often faced by people with schizophrenia as well as an infographic showing the steps people can take to ensure longer lives. 

The need for better health care for people with schizophrenia is especially important considering:

  • people with severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia tend to have a ten to twenty-five year reduced lifespan compared to non-mental patients.
  • the vast majority of health problems faced by people with mental disorders include diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular problems, and suicide.
  • for the majority of people with severe mental illness dying of physical ailments, the deaths are often preventable if they have better health care and a healthier lifestyle.
  • patients with severe mental disorders often need better access to quality care and counseling to teach life skills.

Providing better health care for mental patients means overcoming the stigma that often surrounds mental illness in many societies as well as getting better access to treatment.   Meeting this challenge remains one of the WHO's chief commitments.  You can do your part by becoming more aware of programs and resources in your own community that can help.

World Mental Health Day page



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