World Mental Health day falls on 10th October, and the theme for 2023 was to raise awareness about our human rights.
Mental health is an essential component of overall health, well-being, and development. When someone’s mental health is not properly supported, it can impact the ability to enjoy their other human rights like education, work, and relationships.
Let’s start with the basics - Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that everyone is entitled to, simply because they are human beings. They are protected by law, and they include things like the right to life, protection from enslavement and the right to education.
In fact, mental health issues can be caused or worsened by human rights violations, such as discrimination, abuse, and violence. For example, students of black and other ethnic minority backgrounds are at higher risk of depression because they may experience bullying and discrimination at school or in their communities.
We all can play a role in protecting and promoting good mental health as a human right. We’re in this together. Here are some things that we can all do:
1. Raise Awareness:
Educate yourself and others about mental health. Understand that it's a part of our overall well-being and is not the same as mental illness.
Challenge stigma and stereotypes related to mental health. Use your voice to break down the barriers of shame.
Be mindful of the language you use when talking to others. Things like calling someone “mental” or “psycho” only creates more shame and stigma!
2. Practice Self-Care:
Good mental health is your human right. Prioritize self-care routines that help maintain your mental and emotional health. This might include exercise, meditation, journaling, or simply taking breaks when needed.
Be kind to yourself. Self-compassion is a powerful tool for mental health. Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend.
3. Offer Support:
Be a good listener. Sometimes, all someone needs is to be heard and understood.
Encourage open conversations. Create a safe space for friends and peers to share their feelings and concerns without judgment.
If you're concerned about someone's mental health, don't hesitate to offer help or seek help on their behalf when necessary.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to recognize that mental health is a human right, and everyone deserves the chance to live a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life. By raising awareness, practicing self-care, and offering support, you can contribute to a world where everyone’s mental health is respected and upheld as a fundamental human right. Together, we can make a positive impact on the wellbeing of our communities and ourselves.