Kathleen M. Pike, PhD

World Mental Health Day 2020

Tomorrow, October 10th, is World Mental Health Day. Initiated in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health, World Mental Health Day creates awareness about mental health and mental illness. The theme this year is Mental Health for All: Greater Investment – Greater Access.

Of course, mental health matters every day, but the annual designation of October 10th as World Mental Health Day serves a forcing function. Like personal birthdays and shared holidays that prompt us to reflect on how we spent our last year and call on us to set resolutions for the year ahead, World Mental Health Day gives each of us the opportunity to focus, celebrate, and recommit to prioritizing mental health in our everyday lives. Here are some highlights of programs for World Mental Health Day and invitations for you to join.

1. The World Health Organization “Big Event for Mental Health.” WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus along with world leaders, mental health experts, and celebrity guests will share what WHO is doing, together with partners, to improve the mental health of people in countries throughout the world. National and international leaders will speak about why they are making mental health a priority. Internationally renowned artists will speak about their work advocating for mental health, and critically-acclaimed musicians will perform.

You can tune in from one of WHO’s social media channels: FacebookTwitterLinkedInYouTubeTikTok and Twitch. The start time is: 10:00 New York, 16:00 Geneva, 19:30 New Delhi. The event will last approximately 2 hours 30 minutes.

2. The March for Mental Health.This will be the world’s first virtual March for Mental Health. It will live stream October 9th-10th, and over the course of 24 hours, mental health experts, campaigners, advocates, and people with lived experience from more than 17 countries will be sharing their stories as part of a global effort to drive change and investment in mental health. You can find more information and sign up to join the March here.

3. Get Allied Certified. In celebration of World Mental Health Day 2020, perhaps you want to learn more about how you can do something in your own community. Psych Hub has launched a certification program for community members to help you do just that. Many individuals who are not expert mental health professionals can nonetheless play an essential role in promoting mental health in our communities. Business leaders, first responders, teachers, and others can be mental health allies. Allies, also known as gate keepers, can provide critical support to someone in need. Psych Hub competency courses give you the necessary background on important mental health topics to lend a hand. Find out more here.

4. #TalkToMe. Our colleagues at the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, are hosting a World Mental Health Day Event to get people talking: #TalkToMe. Having recently established a Suicide Prevention Center, they are launching a movement in Brazil that is similar to the “#MeToo” movement to encourage people to talk more openly about their mental health struggles. They will host a program with Brazilian singers, actors, mental health workers, and public officials who will share the message that mental illness is not weakness and not a reason for shame. Dr. Elson Asevedo, one of the founders, affirms that it is only through our vulnerabilities that we may find real courage and strength. The program will be in Portuguese with English subtitles on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 1PM ET. You can join here.

5. Brave Together. Recognizing the mental health needs of adolescent women, Maybelline has launched Brave Together, a global campaign that aims to support young women living with anxiety and depression and build communities that are better prepared to support each other. I have the honor of serving as Scientific Advisor to Brave Together. Tomorrow, in celebration of World Mental Health Day, Maybelline Brave Together is hosting a virtual meet up to inspire open and honest conversations and encourage emotional wellbeing. Jameela Jamil, Actress, Activist & Founder of I Weigh, will be the Keynote Speaker. She will be joined by Kahlana Barfield Brown, Editor and Beauty Expert, Dove Cameron, Actress and Singer, Aicha Cherif, Filmmaker, Elyse Fox, founder of Sad Girls Club, Erin Parsons, MNY Global Makeup Artist, and me! These young women will share their own extraordinary stories of mental health and resilience. You can join us on Saturday at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET by registering here.

I hope you will join one or some of these efforts to celebrate World Mental Health Day. And if you prefer, you can always design your own DIY World Mental Health Day by investing in your own mental health – whether it is going for a walk in nature, listening to music, taking some time to play, or having a conversation with someone about mental health. Whatever you choose, you will be part of a movement to make Mental Health for All a reality.

Picture of Kathleen M. Pike, PhD

Kathleen M. Pike, PhD

Kathleen M. Pike, PhD is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Global Mental Health WHO Collaborating Centre at Columbia University.

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