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World mental health day

Hello, I am Ángel, the new Spanish ESC volunteer in Amazonas. I am 24 years old, and I’ve already finished my university studies. Currently, I am in a gap year between my studies and looking for a job. It is my first experience living in a foreign country, and I hope to enjoy Croatia. Every month, I will write about an important date taking place that month. For October, I decided to talk about the World Mental Health Day

When is it celebrated?

Every 10th October since 1992, it is celebrated the World Mental Health Day. It is promoted by the World Federation for Mental Health, supported by The World Health Organization (WHO). The event represents a global compromise to concern population about mental health problems around the world, pretending to make a global priority our mental health and wellbeing. Last month, the 2022. World Mental Health Day took place, with the theme ‘Make Mental Health & Well-Being for All a Global Priority’. You can read the letter of Professor Gabriel Ivbijaro, Secretary General WFMH for this year’s event in the following link. United Nations also participates in this cause, promoting different events during October.

PHOTO: Mental Health Foundation Facebook
Why it is important to take care about mental health

Traditionally, when we talk about health, we only take into consideration our physical body. Nevertheless, if we want to live a plenty life, we must also care our mental health. Nowadays, more and more people in “develop” countries have problems related to mental health. That is provoked by our consumer and suffocating style of life. Words like depression, anxiety, disorders… have always existed, but everyday are more common in our language. Mental health is taken into consideration by medical science since 1946, when the WHO in its definition for health, explains that health: “is the perfect physical, mental and social state, not just the lack of illnesses or affections”.

The studies in mental health and how we understand it has evolved during the last century, passing from traditional mental hospitals (like prisons for people with mental problems) to nowadays situation. Probably, the spread of these problems and our better comprehension of them has provoked the destigmatization of having a mental problem. That is good if we want to help people to achieve their wellness.

Mental health in recent times

Even though mental health problems are being destigmatise, there are so much to do, and it is a continuous fight. In recent times, due to COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in different type of mental disorders all over the world. Also, the WHO has written about it. As it is written in mentioned resources, during the pandemic 
some people developed fear the get the virus, to which we must also add fear to other situations like work, staying at home, families etc. All this fear also is accompanied but worry and stress. To conclude, there is much to do in the future in this aspect. Even more if we take into account how these mental diseases are increasing in recent times, due to our contemporaneous style of life, and more recently due to COVID-19.

PHOTO: NSW Health Facebook
How in Amazonas we help to prevent mental health problems

Amazonas is known by its labour in sports and social projects. If we attend to the definition of health written above, we can see that Amazonas helps with physical health, but not only with this. The different projects help in terms of socialisation and prevention of risk behaviours. This is an important aspect to prevent some cases of issues related with mental health, and since humans are social animals, it helps us to fulfil with what it is in our own nature.

Moreover, the practise of sport is related with a better mental health. There are many studies that show how sports helps to prevent anxiety, depression, helps in our self-esteem. In fact, classical Greco-Roman authors were right, and we only must pay attention to them “Men sana in corpore sano” (Juvenal).

As our impact measurement shows, we are helping many people with various projects we do. For example, capoeira can be helpful for some people with physical and mental issues. Especially because it doesn’t include competition and it have strong social perspective. Here I share a link to an interesting podcast discussing this topic.

As a conclusion, it can be said that it is important to take care of our mental health as much as we do with our physical. We are more conscious than in the past about these issues. But, that doesn’t save us from having a problem related with mental health. There are many different methods that can be used to prevent or to try to overcome the issues, but not every method is appropriate for everybody, it is very individual. What it can be helpful for me, not necessarily it is going to be good for you. That is the reason why there is still much to do in this aspect, and a day like this World Mental Health Day is important.

See you next month with another topic! And take care of yourselves.