Prioritising Mental Health: Strategies for a Happier World


Prioritising Mental Health:
Strategies for a Happier World

Mental health is a global issue that affects people of all
ages, genders, and cultures. The World Health Organization estimates that more
than one billion people worldwide suffer from a mental disorder, and the
COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation.

Prioritising Mental Health: Strategies for a Happier World

World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of
mental health issues and to advocate for better mental health care for
everyone. This year’s theme, “Mental Health in an Unequal World,”
highlights the importance of addressing social and economic inequities that
impact mental health.

Please know that you are not alone if you or someone you know
is dealing with a mental health problem. There are options to assist, and early
intervention can make a significant difference.

World Mental Health Report

The World Mental Health Report is an annual publication by the
World Health Organization (WHO) that provides the latest evidence, examples,
and recommendations on mental health for everyone. The report aims to inspire
and inform better mental health policies, practices, and services, as well as
to increase awareness and action on mental health issues.

The latest edition of the report, released in June 2022,
highlights the critical need to transform mental health and mental health care
in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The report finds that none
of the targets set by the WHO Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030
have been met, and there is a global shortage in mental health spending.

The report calls on all stakeholders to work together to:

    
Increase the value and commitment given to mental
health.

    
Reshape the environments that influence mental health.

    
Strengthen the systems that care for mental health.

Impact of COVID-19 on mental health

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on mental
health worldwide, leading to a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and
depression. This is according to a scientific brief published by the World
Health Organization (WHO) in March 2022.

The brief also found that the pandemic has had a greater impact
on the mental health of young people, women, and people with pre-existing
physical and mental health conditions.

The WHO brief also highlights that there is a global shortage
in mental health spending, and that none of the targets set by the WHO
Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030 have been met.

Burnout: A Rising Occupational Phenomenon in
the Pandemic Era

Burnout is a syndrome defined by prolonged job-related stress.
It is characterised by tiredness, cynicism, and diminished professional
efficacy. Burnout became a trending search term in the United States in 2021
due to the widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers’ mental
health.

Burnout can occur in anyone who is subjected to continuously
stressful conditions, although certain occupations, such as healthcare and
education, are more susceptible.

Burnout can have major negative consequences for individuals,
companies, and society. It can lead to decreased productivity, increased
absenteeism, lower quality of care, and greater turnover.

To address burnout, it is important to address the workplace
characteristics that contribute to it, such as:

    
Toxic behaviour

    
Excessive workload

    
Lack of autonomy and support

    
Insufficient recognition

Employers can take steps to prevent burnout by creating a
positive work environment where employees feel valued and supported. Employees
can also take steps to protect their own mental health by setting boundaries,
taking breaks, and seeking support from others.

Here are some tips for employers and employees
to prevent burnout:

Employers:

    
Create a good work environment in which employees are
recognized and valued.

    
Provide employees with the resources and support they
need to do their jobs effectively.

    
Encourage employees to take breaks and time off.

    
Set realistic expectations and workloads.

    
Recognize and reward employees for their hard work.

Employees:

    
Set boundaries between work and personal life.

    
Take breaks and time off regularly.

    
Ask for help when needed.

    
Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist.

Note: If you are
experiencing burnout, it is important to reach out for help. Talk to your
doctor, therapist, or HR department about resources and support options.

Mental health and human rights

Mental health is a basic human right, but many people are not
treated with respect or dignity if they have a mental illness. More than one
billion people worldwide have a mental disorder, and the COVID-19 pandemic has
made the problem worse.

People with mental illness often face stigma, discrimination,
and abuse. They may also not have access to good and affordable care. Some
people with mental illness are forced into psychiatric hospitals or other
institutions, where they may be treated in ways that violate their rights.

In June 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a new
recommendation on community mental health services. This recommendation
emphasises a person-centred and rights-based approach. It is intended to help
countries align their mental health systems and policies with the Convention on
the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The WHO guidelines call for a shift from institutional to
community-based care that respects the autonomy, preferences, and choices of
people with mental illness. They also emphasise the importance of
cross-sectoral coordination, civil society participation, and proper funding
for mental health.

Human rights and mental health are inseparable. It is time to
work together to ensure that everyone has access to mental health care.

Mental health and primary health care

Mental health and primary health care (PHC) are closely linked.
Integrating mental health into PHC can make it easier for people to get the
mental health care they need, and can also help to reduce stigma and
discrimination. It can also help to prevent, identify, and treat common mental
health conditions like depression and anxiety, which often co-occur with
physical conditions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been advocating for the
integration of mental health into PHC for many years, and has provided
guidance, tools, and evidence to help this process. However, there are still
many challenges to overcome, including lack of funding, human resources,
training, and supervision, as well as lack of awareness and political will.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for mental
health services, while also disrupting the delivery of current services. This
has made it more urgent than ever to strengthen the integration of mental
health and PHC. The pandemic has also opened up new opportunities for
innovation and collaboration, such as tele-mental health, community
participation, and cross-sectoral collaboration.

The integration of mental health and PHC is a key strategy for
achieving universal health coverage for mental health, which is the theme of
World Mental Health Day 2023. It is time for everyone to have access to
effective and affordable mental health care at the primary level.

Wrapping up…

Mental health is a global issue that affects people of all
ages, genders, and cultures. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact
on mental health worldwide, leading to an increase in anxiety, depression, and
burnout.

Please know that you are not alone if you or someone you know
is dealing with a mental health problem. There are options to assist, and early
intervention can make a significant difference.