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World Mental Health Day: The Most Valuable Asset

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World Health Day is celebrated all over the world on 10 October: a topic that is close to our hearts and that should always be treated with seriousness and commitment. Find out here since this day is celebrated, the data on mental health in Italy (and in the world) and the initiatives to raise awareness on the care of our psycho-physical well-being.

Make the mental health and well-being of all a global priority: this sentence is the backbone of the 2022 edition of World Mental Health Day, celebrated as a precious commodity to be treated with care, whatever the cost. And mental health has many maintenance costs, both material and concrete (not surprisingly, in Italy, the psychologists bonus to try to make up for the financial incapacity of many subjects, in our country, who cannot afford adequate therapy) and in terms of reputation and self-perception.

Why yes: still today, unfortunately, the care of one’s own mental well-being it is seen as a whim for the rich, a pastime for the spoiled. In many cases, then, one still hovers stigma which for many makes it almost impossible to openly discuss their own mental health problems: who goes to a psychologist is crazy, sick. And whoever does not go there but is sick does well, because he is only a hypochondriac: and so on ad infinitum. Fortunately, the new generations and the intervention of various public figures who have cleared the dialogue on mental and psychological health disorders they are making it possible to make this subject less and less taboo.

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World Mental Health Day: What Is It?

1992: the year in which the WHOthe World Health Organization, decides to schedule an annual celebration on October 10, World Mental Health Day, World Mental Health Day. Before dealing with pandemics and vaccines at full capacity, in fact, the organization had found it necessary to underline the importance of mental health, whose value must be equivalent and never less than that attributed to physical well-being. The first, therefore, to recognize how much our mental health regulates our lives, was then Deputy Secretary for Mental Health Richard Hunterwhich from 1994 onwards has decided to combat prejudices and stereotypes relating to mental health by focusing, every year, on a key phrase, a different concept aimed at raise awareness the whole world.

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This year, that phrase is “Making the mental health and well-being of all a global priority.” To make this happen they are essential information, disclosure and interest: for this reason, during the day today, special events were organized throughout Italy to shed light on the subject. However, a long time has passed since 1992: because this day is still like this necessary? Let’s understand this by looking at the data collected on the topic, both globally and nationally.

Mental well-being in the world

On the occasion of the World Mental Health Day the Lancetone of the most renowned scientific journals in the medical field, published a study by 50 experts on stigma which still persists on mental health and how it, when poorly treated, negatively impacts a large percentage of people. Among the data collected by Lancet Commission on ending stigma and discrimination in mental healththe presence of one in eight people living with some form of mental distress and a 25% increase in anxiety and depression during the course of 2020.

The goal of the study is also to leave readers with valid recommendations, guidance, and suggestions for addressing their own mental health treatment with serenity and further steps that, according to experts, should be implemented at the state level to facilitate work for citizens. The document speaks of decriminalization of suicide, adoption of reintegration programs to work for those who have suffered from mental disorders and the establishment of training courses on mental illnesses, intended both for operators in the sector and for young people in schoolsfor instance.

In Italy it is a problem that is too often underestimated: some numbers

According to the WHO, mental health is an essential component of health in general, and this can be deduced from the definition of generic health that the association returns on its official channels: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not simply the absence of disease or infirmity“Despite this, if we look at the data obtained from the Ipsos annual survey, in Italy we do not seem to have the issue sufficiently close to heart yet. Here are some of the data collected by the study:

  • After Covid-19, mental health is the first health problem internationally
  • Although 80% of Italians are convinced of the equity of importance of physical and mental health, only 40% of them think that the same vision of things is shared by the state and the national health system
  • Mental health is a recurring thought in 55% of Italians, especially among citizens under 35, who represent 65% of the total share
  • 25% said they thought about suicide or other self-harming gestures at least once in the last year

Therefore, it is clear not a local lack of interest, but a big one discrepancy between the service offered and the real needs of the public.

Some of the Italian initiatives

During the thirtieth edition of the World Mental Health Dayin Italy various initiatives have been promoted throughout the national territory: theNational Observatory on Women’s and Gender Health (Wave), for example, has organized together with 140 hospitals of the Open Day for Mental Health, where to go to raise awareness on the subject. In these spaces, moreover, free psychological and psychiatric visits are offered because, as the President of the foundation explains, Francesca Merzagora:“The Covid pandemic has led to an increase in anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, panic and post-traumatic effects of stress. Ask for help is the first step to tackle the problem “.

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Milan instead, a city that symbolizes stress in Italy, it has organized a series of events under the countryside Milano 4 Mental Health “, which will go on until 24 October. TO Modena it is celebrated throughout the week with concerts, exhibitions and screenings; in other 18 Italian cities, however, it will be the Itaca Project Foundation to take a tour through the initiative “Everyone’s crazy about rice “, in an effort to raise funds for the design of further projects in order to increase the culture and knowledge of the importance of mental health. And so in many other municipalities, such as Padua, Rieti, Naples: a train of solidarity that we hope he will not stop tomorrow, but that he will continue his indispensable journey.

Alice Michielon

Graduated in Arts, Entertainment, Cultural Events at the IULM University of Milan, she is pursuing a Masters in Storytelling Arts. She is passionate about storytelling in all its forms, from narrative to …



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