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Essay on “World Mental Health Day – October 10” Complete Essay for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

World Mental Health Day – October 10


World Mental Health Day was observed for the first time on 10 October 1992. It was started as an annual activity of the World Federation for Mental Health by the then Deputy Secretary General of UNO Richard Hunter. The day is officially commemorated every year on October 10th.

Mental health resources differ significantly from country-to-country. While developed nations in the Western world provide mental health resources for all ages, many third world countries struggle to help families meet basic needs. One day a year, we are asked to focus on the importance of mental health all over the world.

At the beginning, the Day had no specific theme. Its aims were general ones of promoting mental health advocacy and educating the public on relevant issues. In the first three years, one of the central activities to mark the Day was a two-hour telecast broadcast globally through the US information agency satellite system from studios in Tallahassee, Florida. In 1994, at the suggestion of then Secretary General Eugene Brody, a theme for the Day was used for the first time. It was “Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services Throughout the World.- Within three years, the Day had become a valuable occasion for interested government departments, organizations and committed individuals, to arrange programs to focus on aspects of mental health care.

Then the Federation has chosen a theme to be promoted in its planning kit each year. The themes used are:

1996                    Women and Mental Health

1997                    Children and Mental Health

1998                    Mental Health and Human Rights

1999                    Mental Health and Ageing

2000-2001          Mental Health and Work

2002          The Effects of Trauma and Violence on Children & Adolescents

2003          Emotional and Behavioral Disorders of Children & Adolescents

2004          The Relationship Between Physical & Mental Health: co-occurring disorders

2005          Mental and Physical Health Across the Life Span

2006                    Building Awareness – Reducing Risk: Mental Illness & Suicide

This is not 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 a month. And in some places preparations for the following year start almost as soon as the current year’s event is over.

Mental health is a concept that refers to a human individual’s emotional and psychological well-being. Merriam-Webster defines mental health as “A state of emotional and psychological well-being in which an individual is able to use his or her cognitive and emotional capabilities, function in society, and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no one “official” definition of mental health. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how “mental -health” is defined. In general, most experts agree that “mental health” and “mental illness” are not opposites. In other words, the absence of a recognized mental disorder is not necessarily an indicator of mental health.

One way to think about mental health is by looking at how effectively and successfully a person functions. Feeling capable and competent; being able to handle normal levels of stress, maintain satisfying relationships, and lead an independent life; and being able to “bounce back,” or recover from difficult situations, are all signs of mental health.

Encompassing your emotional, social, and—,most importantly—your mental well-being; All these aspects—emotional, physical, and social—must function together to achieve overall health.

Mental Health is National Wealth

Another, World Mental Health Day, Oct 10th, 2006, has arrived, embracing a novel theme: “Building Awareness: Reducing Risk of Mental Illness and Suicide”. Experts the World over will indeed be putting their heads together, finding solutions to some of the disturbing trends in mental health.

It is estimated that nearly one in ten, worldwide, arc grappling with mental health problems, of which anxiety disorder has acquired a ‘household’ status. Recent figures show that nearly 54 million mentally ill Americans add up to the nation’s economic burden. If forecasts are to be believed, ‘chronic depression’ will have only `heart disease’ as a key contender for the numero-uno health ailment 2020.

It has always been easier to define mental illnesses than to define mental health. More recently, many have recognized that mental health is more than the absence of mental illness. Even though many of us do not suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder, it is clear that some of us are mentally healthier than others. The study of the characteristics that make up mental health has been called “positive psychology.” Here are some of the ideas that have been put forward as characteristics of mental health:

The ability to enjoy life

The ability to enjoy life is essential to good mental health. The practice of mindfulness meditation is one way to cultivate that ability. We, of course, need to plan at times; and we need to learn from the past. Too often, we make ourselves miserable in the present by worrying about the future. Our life metaphors are important factors that allow us to enjoy the present life.


The ability to bounce back from adversity has been referred to as “resilience.” It has been long known that some people handle stress better than others. Those who cope up- well with stress share the characteristic of “resilience”.


Balance in life seems to result in greater mental health. We all need to balance time spent socially with time spent alone, for example. Those who spend all of their time alone may be labeled as “loners”, and they may lose many of their social skills. Extreme social isolation may even result in a split with reality. Those who ignore the need for some solitary times also risk such a split. Balancing these two needs seems to be the key — although we all balance these differently. Other areas where balance seems to be important include the balance between work and play, the balance between sleep and wakefulness, the balance between rest and exercise, and even the balance between time spent indoors and time spent outdoors.

Flexibility We all know people who hold very rigid opinions. No amount of discussion can change their views. Such people often set themselves up for added stress by the rigid expectations that they hold. Working on making our expectations more flexible can improve our mental health. Emotional flexibility may be just as important as cognitive flexibility. Mental healthy people experience a range of emotions and allow themselves to express these feelings. Some people shut off certain feelings, finding them to be unacceptable. This emotional rigidity may result in other mental health problems.


What have we made of the gifts that we have been given? We all know people who have surpassed their potential and others who seem to have squandered their gifts. We first need to recognize our gifts, of course, and the process of recognition is part of the path toward self-actualization. Mentally healthy persons are persons who are in the process of actualizing their potential. In order to do this, we must first feel secure. These are just a few of the concepts that are important in attempting to define mental health. The ability to form healthy relationships with others is also important. Adult and adolescent mental health also includes the concepts of self-esteem and healthy sexuality. How we deal with loss and death is also an important element of mental health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the lack of physical activity is a major underlying cause of death, disease, and disability. Preliminary data from a WHO study on risk factors suggest that inactivity, or sedentary lifestyle, is one of the 10 leading global causes of death and disability. More than two million deaths each year are attributable to physical inactivity. In countries around the world between 60% and 85% of adults are simply not active enough to benefit from health. Sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and substantially increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, depression and anxiety. People from every socioeconomic and cultural background across the globe suffer from the non-communicable diseases that result from a sedentary lifestyle. In addition, in developing countries, resources are so scarce that it is extremely difficult to effectively treat these diseases.

Any amount of physical activity is beneficial. The minimum amount of physical activity required for the prevention of disease is about 30 minutes of moderate activity, every day. This is easy to accomplish through a simple walk, house-cleaning, or leisure activities such as sports and dancing. World Health Day reminds us that physical activity is crucial to our health – and a healthier lifestyle may only be a short walk away.

Brain: A Hard Nut to Crack

Akin to assembling pieces of a jigsaw, scientists have tried to comprehend the many reasons for malfunctions in the brain that ignite a host of mental illnesses. After all mental illness knows no age, strata, society, color, creed or caste.

Five major categories of mental illness have been delineated. They are anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, dementia, and eating disorders, of which, by virtue of its occurrence, anxiety disorder happens to be the most common.

Anxiety disorders are known to hamper a victim’s quality of life. People suffering from such disorders are seen to be at their wits end, grappling panic attacks, or irrational fears, and sometimes even obsessive-compulsive behavior. Mood disorder is another type of mental illness characterized by depression, manic depression or mood swings. Such patients may display extreme sadness or elation, and swings in activity and energy levels. One of the extreme consequences of mental illness may be the pronounced risk of suicide.

Cutting a Long Story Short It is estimated that over one million people worldwide die because of suicide. In the past ten decades, suicides have out numbered homicides. Studies have shown that biological, genetic, psychological and cultural factors influence the risk of suicide in any individual. The underlying risk factors associated with suicide include serious mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse, childhood abuse, and death of a loved one, financial loss, personal upheavals, despair, and despondency. Undoubtedly, mental illness that is left untreated enhances the risk of suicide. Suicidal behaviors encompass a spectrum of tendencies ranging from suicidal attempts, gestures, threats and suicidal thoughts. Suicide is the result of extreme sadness and psychological distress relating to unfulfilled needs. The psychological pain a patient experiences is fuelled by a history of mental problems such as depression or anxiety. There is no perfect description of a person who is suicidal. Only a trained healthcare professional can spot the complex behavior and avert a tragedy.

Mental Health in India

Mental Health is undeniably one of our most precious possessions, to be nurtured, promoted and preserved as best as we can. It is the state of mind in which the individual can experience sustained joy of life while working productively, interacting with others meaningfully and facing up to adversity without losing capacity to function physically, psychologically and socially. It is undoubtedly a vital resource for a nation’s development and its absence represents a great burden to the economic, political and social functioning of the nation. Mental health is a barometer of the social life of a population and the rising level of morbidity and morality are a sign of social as well as individual malaise. The scope of mental health is not only confined to the treatment of some seriously ill persons admitted to mental health centers but related to the whole range of health activities.

In the past and present also, in the field of health our mind has been preoccupied with communicable diseases, because they were the biggest cause of death. We have been looking at health in terms of physical health, while neglecting mental health. Over the years, mental illnesses have increased manifold. It is estimated that about 2% of Indians suffer from mental illnesses, a staggering twenty million out of a population of one billion.

The Government of India recognized the need to be proactive in its approach to promote the good mental health of its people and provide good quality care to those suffering from mental disorders.

It is unfortunate that after sixty years of independence, besides having a National Mental Health Programme, we do not have any countrywide epidemiological data of mental illnesses and whatever available are only estimates and those estimates are based on the prevalence and incidence in other countries. Research studies from different parts of the country have shown that mental illness is as common in India as it is elsewhere and it is equally common in rural and urban areas. Mental disorders cause enormous burden on affected individuals, their families and society, although this suffering may not be visible to others.

Mental health is an important component of health and development of the human society. Now there are a number of new issues come up in the country with implication for mental health. The most notable are alcohol policies, violence in society, the growing population of elderly persons, urbanization, mental health of women, disaster care, migrants and refugees, street children, and stress at the work place. These new problems pose serious challenge to existing mental health services and infrastructure.

There have been innovative initiatives in the private sector in a number of areas of mental health. The most notable of these are crisis intervention, rehabilitation of the mentally ill, and care of the elderly and street children. However, this has mostly been at the local level, without adequate evaluation and expansion to cover the rest of the country. In this context, voluntary organizations should be given greater importance, and encouraged to participate in mental health care programme.




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