World Mental Health Day, which is supported by the United Nations (UN), is annually held on October 10 to raise public awareness about mental health issues worldwide. This event promotes open discussions on illnesses, as well as investments in prevention and treatment services. This year the theme for the day is “Depression: A Global Crisis.”
Mental disorders affect nearly 12 percent of the world’s population – about 450 million or one out of every four people around the world – will experience a mental illness that would benefit from diagnosis and treatment. WHO statistics for 2002 showed that 154 million people globally suffered from depression, which is a form of mental illness. According to WHO, mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which people realize their own potential, can cope with normal life stresses, can work productively, and can contribute to their community.
World Health Day was first celebrated in 1992 as an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), which has members and contacts in more than 150 countries. Each year the UN, through WHO, actively participates in promoting this event.