World Mental Health Day: How the pandemic is creating another new reality

Mental Health in COVID

A drawing of a rainbow with the word “Hope” by Logan age 6 is displayed in one of the windows of 10 Downing Street, London, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in hospital following his admission on Sunday with continuing coronavirus symptoms Thursday April 9, 2020. The highly contagious COVID-19 coronavirus has impacted on nations around the globe, many imposing self isolation and exercising social distancing when people move from their homes. (Aaron Chown/PA via AP)

INDIANAPOLIS — Every year, World Mental Health Day is seen on October 10, raising awareness for those struggling with mental illness and creating a support group for those who need it. This year, mental health has come to the forefront, especially as the World Health Organization is focusing on how mental health has been impacted by the pandemic.

“Fear, worry, and stress are normal responses to perceived or real threats, and at times when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown,” WHO wrote on their website. “So it is normal and understandable that people are experiencing fear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

From the fear of contracting the virus to the new realities regarding working from home, unemployment, online school and the ever-looming feeling of isolation from the rest of the world, a lot of individuals are experiencing a hidden pandemic of depression and anxiety.

The hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay is trending on Twitter, with thousands and thousands of individuals showing their support and sharing stories. All hold a common motto: “it’s okay to not be okay.”

World Mental Health Day began in 1992 by then World Federation for Mental Health Deputy Secretary-General Richard Hunter. Then, there were no particular themes with each World Mental Health Day, but that changed in 1994 as education spread and awareness rose.

“We would like to stress that [World Mental Health Day] isn’t simply a one-day event. The preparations go on for months beforehand and this is truly a long-term educational effort. In some countries, the program stretches over several days, or a week, or even in some cases the whole month,” WFMH wrote on their website. “This project has evolved over the years to practically run on its own – people all over the world are holding events, making announcements and celebrating WMHDAY. … We opened the door and thousands of people from all over the world have run through and out into the streets to forever declare October 10 as World Mental Health Day.”

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