World Mental Health Day 2021

Prof Dr N Heramani Singh and Dr Seram Chaoba Devi
World Mental Health Day is observed on 10th October every year to sensitize, prioritize and focus on important aspects of public mental health.
1) Mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders.
2) Mental health is an integral part of health, indeed there is no health without mental health.
3) According to WHO: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.
4) Mental health–A state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make contribution to his or her community.
Mental health service lack human and financial resources in many countries, particularly low and middle income countries. More funding is needed to promote mental health to increase people’s awareness of the issue.
 In response to making mental health a global priority, world mental health day was first celebrated in 1992 as an initiative of WFMH (World Federation for Mental Health).
The world has been grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic for over 18 months. Billions of people have been affected. Many people face economic turmoil, having lost their incomes and livelihoods. There has been widespread fear of infection, death and loss of family members. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen the consequences of these issues on people’s mental health and each of us understand how COVID-19 has impacted our well-being. Still, these impacts have not been evenly distributed.
COVID-19 has put the spotlight on the inequality that exists all around us. One example is the unequal access to mental health care. Far too few people have access to quality mental health services. More than 75% of people with mental health conditions receive no treatment at all for their condition. Despite these inequalities, Governments spend on average just over 2% of their health budgets on mental health.
The stigma and discrimination experienced by people who experience mental ill health not only affects that person’s physical and mental health, stigma also affects their educational opportunities, current and future
earning and job prospects and their families and loved ones.
1) Rich becoming richer
2) Poor becoming poorer
3) Gap widened between ‘Haves’ and ‘Have nots’
4) Access to healthcare is becoming distant for poor people
5) Treatment gap for mental health is widening further.
6) Access to mental healthcare has become difficult because available resources were diverted for managing pandemic
7)  Focus on physical health has increased but mental health has taken a toll.
So, with the 2021 mental health day theme “Mental Health in an unequal world”, this inequality needs to be addressed because it should not be allowed to continue.
This provides an opportunity for us to come together and act together to highlight how inequality need to be addressed to ensure people are
able to enjoy good mental health.
Let’s know something about MHA (Mental Health Act) 2017 so as to address the issue of inequality:
What are the rights of a person with mental illness??
1) Right to access mental healthcare
2) Right to community living
3) Right to protection from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment
4) Right to confidentiality
5) Right to access medical records
6) Right to legal aid
7) Right to equality and non-discrimination : Every person with mental illness shall be treated as equal to persons with physical illness in the provisions of all healthcare which shall include the following:
1. No discrimination on any basis including gender, sex, sexual orientation, religion etc
2. Shall be entitled to the use of ambulance services
3. Emergency facilities and emergency services for mental illness shall be of same quality and availability as those provided to persons with physical illness
4. Living conditions in health establishments shall be of the same extent and quality as that provided to persons with physical illness.
 Promotion and protection of mental health
· Early childhood interventions (providing a stable environment, protection from threats, opportunities for early learning,)
· Support to children (life skills program)
· Socio-economic empowerment of women
· Social support for elderly populations (community and day care centres for the aged)
· Mental health promotional activities in schools
· Anti-discrimination laws and campaigns
· Promotion of the rights, opportunities and care of individuals with mental disorders.
Looking after our mental health:
· Keep yourself informed
· Have a routine
· Exercise regularly
· Allocate time for working and time for resting
· Make time for doing things you enjoy
· Minimize newsfeeds
· Keep in regular contact with people close to you
· Limit screen time

Prof Dr N Heramani Singh is a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist and Dr Seram Chaoba Devi is a Consultant Psychiatrist at Shija hospitals and Research Institute, Langol.