This year’s World Mental Health Day (October 10) is celebrated at a time when our daily lives have been significantly altered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recent months have brought many challenges: for health workers, who serve in difficult circumstances, and go to work in fear of taking COVID-19 home; for students, who have had to adapt to classes remotely, with little contact with teachers and classmates, and full of anxiety about their future; for workers, whose livelihoods are threatened; for the sheer number of people trapped in poverty or fragile humanitarian settings with very little protection against COVID-19; and for people with mental health conditions, many of whom are even more socially isolated than before. Not to mention managing the pain of losing a loved one, sometimes without being able to say goodbye.
The economic consequences of the pandemic are already felt everywhere, as companies lay off staff in an attempt to save the business, or are forced to shut down altogether.
Based on experience gained in past emergencies, psychosocial and mental health support needs are expected to increase considerably in the coming months and years. Investing in mental health programmes at the national and international levels, underfunded for years, is now more important than ever.
That’s why this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign has set out to increase investment in mental health.