What is World Mental Health Day?
October 10 is World Mental Health Day. Every year the World Federation for Mental Health designates a day dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health. In the midst of a pandemic – with the isolation of lockdowns and the fear and anxiety surrounding Covid-19 – the group has chosen a vital theme for this year’s day: Mental health for everyone.
What is a mental health day?
In addition to the WHO’s official World Mental Health Day, it’s important for people to take regular informal mental health days for themselves, says David A. Merrill, MD, PhD, a neurologist and psychiatrist. “Mental health day” is a social term with no precise medical definition but many doctors still recommend it as a way to give yourself a break and focus on taking care of your psychological health, he explains. “Mental issues should be taken just as seriously as physical ones,” he says. “Your mind and body work together and problems in one can lead to problems in the other.” Taking a mental health day may help prevent a nervous breakdown.
How do you take a mental health day?
This varies from person to person but it should involve mental and physical activities that focus on self care, improving your mood, treating any mental illness, and just being kind to yourself, says Cheryl Rode PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist. “Mental health days are important for people of all ages and can even be done as a family,” she says. This could include things like using a personal-time-off (PTO) day at work and going for a hike outdoors, taking a break from social media, making your favourite meal, doing some yoga, or writing in a journal. However you choose to pamper yourself, the key is to do it regularly because the benefits of a mental health day are pretty amazing.