World Mental Health Day, as explained by the World Health Organization, "raises public awareness about mental health issues" and "promotes open discussion of mental disorders, and investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services."
While I do think that public awareness of mental health issues has increased over the years, and open discussion of mental disorders does happen more than it used to... there is still a stigma attached to mental illness, and it does sometimes make it difficult to talk about. It may not be as bad as it once was, but it's still there.
I have seen firsthand what happens when mental illness goes undiagnosed and untreated. All it does is cause more unnecessary suffering for people who are already living in enough pain. And it doesn't need to happen. We need to be able to talk openly about mental health issues without fear, and without shame. And we absolutely need to be comfortable seeking help when we need it.
I want to offer you a few mental health resources that I have found. If you or someone you love suffers from mental illness, I encourage you to explore some of the great information services and organizations that are out there. And if you have any concerns about your mental health (even if you've never been diagnosed), please, please talk to your doctor. Help is out there - you just have to take that first step.
Mental Health Resources:
- Phych Central's Mental Health & Psychology Resources Online
- MedlinePlus Mental Health page
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mental Health page
- Mental Health America
- National Alliance on Mental Illness