Every day, October 10 is marked as World Mental Health Day to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world. This year, World Mental Health Day is being marked with the theme “Mental health is a universal human right”.
To know all about World Mental Health Day its importance and significance, NDTV speaks with Dr Roderico Ofrin, WHO representative to India. Talking about the day, Dr Ofrin said,
Good mental health is vital for overall health and wellbeing. World Health Organization says that it is not just the absence of conformity of disease but overall holistic wellness that includes mental health which affects the way we think, act, deal with stress and how we relate with others. It includes our decision making, fostering resilience. It enables us to bounce back or change or set back. Good mental health drives good decision making and determines the choices we make daily for ourselves, our health, our family and people around us. Good mental health is important at all spans of life. Whether it’s childhood, early adolescence, adolescence, adulthood, we need good mental health always as it shapes who we are.
Dr Ofrin further said that today one in eight people globally are living with mental health conditions which can impact their physical health, mental wellbeing, how we connect to each other, how we live life. He added,
It is an almost invisible problem. It is only through a pandemic which affected everyone’s mental health, we realise the importance of good mental health and wellbeing.
Talking about the World Mental Health Day, Dr Ofrin added that the day gives an opportunity to the world to talk about the issues, prioritise actions and promote mental wellbeing.
Highlighting the importance of this year’s theme for the day, Dr Ofrin added,
Health is a human right. Education is a human right. Even food security is a human right. But we rarely talk about the specific part of health which is mental health. Mental health is the universal human right. This year’s theme objective is to improve knowledge, raise awareness, drive actions and promote and protect everyone’s mental health. Everyone has the right to get the highest attainable standard of mental health. One needs to realise that this condition also deserves right to available, accessible, acceptable, affordable, good quality care. Having a mental health condition should not be a reason to exclude someone. If they are excluded, then that’s a violation of human rights.
Lastly, taking about India, its status in dealing with the disease and the way forward, Dr Ofrin signed off by adding,
The government of India has taken several initiatives to promote mental health. The country kick-started the national mental health policy as early as 2014, then there was mental health care act in 2017. Another big innovation is Tele-MANAS, which provides tele mental health assistance, and networking across states in the country. It is one of the country’s flagship programme and the uptake is amazing. And everyone can call toll-free on tele-MANAs helpline whoever someone feels sad. There are trained counsellors that are available 24×7. We need to further strengthen that connection in the country. More counsellors are needed to be trained. We simultaneously need to promote mental health awareness in communities because mental health is also a social stigma.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.