World Mental Health Day is observed every year on October 10 and is dedicated towards mental health education, awareness and reducing the social stigma that surrounds this condition. It was in 1992 when it was first celebrated, an initiative by the World Federation for Mental Health.
The theme for this year is ‘Young people and mental health in a changing world,’ while in 2017 it was ‘Mental health in the workplace.’
‘How India Perceives Mental Health,’ a report published by The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF) in March 2018 to measure the public perception of mental health across eight Indian cities. The study revealed that 87% of respondents associated mental illness with severe disorders like schizophrenia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and their symptoms.
The survey also revealed that there was a lot of stigmas attached to mental illness, with 47% of people using the term ‘retard’ to describe those with mental illness. More shockingly, 60% of respondents believed that people with mental illness “should have their own groups to avoid contaminating healthy people” and 68% believe that they “should not be given any responsibility.”
In such an environment, it is imperative to spread awareness about mental illness by talking about it more often and holding discussions. One such discussion was held on Twitter earlier this year during May, which is considered as Mental Health Month.
U.K. journalist Hattie Gladwell initiated a Twitter thread with the hashtag detailing ‘Things people have said about my mental illness.’ The thread went viral and exposed us to the kind of comments those suffering from mental illness had heard. It showed the sort of insensitive and unhelpful comments that people with mental illness had been subjected to.