7 Times Mental Health was in the Spotlight in 2023

7 Times Mental Health was in the Spotlight in 2023


7 Times Mental Health was in the Spotlight in 2023

Mental health professionals and activists are constantly battling against stigma today. This is necessary since mental health has become a growing concern, and poor mental health is affecting a major chunk of the population. The World Health Organization says that one out of every eight individuals suffers from mental health disorders worldwide. These disorders disrupt a person’s physical health, well-being, and overall livelihoods. While a lot of mental health problems cannot be classified as illnesses, they also require attention. This year has seen a lot of collective efforts that brought mental health into the public consciousness. This article looks at eight different instances that helped mental health build momentum in 2023, consecutively increasing inclusivity.

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1. World Mental Health Day 2023:

World Mental Health Day is celebrated every year on October 10th to spread awareness, reduce stigma and promote well-being. This year, the theme was ‘Mental health is a universal human right’. This day urges you to look into the challenges related to mental health and the available resources that can be of help. It helps individuals see that mental health is as important as their physical health. This day is celebrated worldwide, and in every organization, now in over 150 countries. People all over the world wore green ribbons on this day and celebrated in their way. The theme this year portrays mental health as a basic human right. This portrayal enables people to connect mental health to other basic rights such as the right to equality or freedom from slavery. This means that a person can relate to the importance of these basic rights and better understand the true importance of mental health.

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2. Mental Health America Conference 2023:

This annual conference brings together mental health advocates from all around the world. These professionals gather in Washington DC for a week of exploration of lived experiences and the impacts of drives and campaigns. These minds come together to brainstorm innovative strategies to promote mental health and address the holistic needs of people and society. This year, the conference was held from 17th to 21st September. Around 10,000 people gathered for the conference marking it as their largest gathering to date, making it extremely successful.

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3. Depression treatment of U.S. Senator John Fetterman:

The U.S. Senator took a leave of absence from his duties in February this year to get treated for depression. After suffering a stroke in May 2022, he was under a lot of pressure to prove that he was capable of meeting the demands of public office. When he took time off to prioritize his mental health, he didn’t choose himself over his work. He let himself get the time and attention he needed to cope with his depression and be able to do his work properly. This step of his stands as an influential act as it set an example for his followers. It also dragged attention towards the importance of mental health, letting people know that you are not weak if you have mental health problems.

Read More: Anxiety: Symptoms, Causes and Intervention

4. Shutting down Harmful Chatbot:

A chatbot named Tessa was launched by a non-profit organization called NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) to assist all those people who seeking help for any kind of eating disorder. While the intention was to be helpful, the chatbot provided suggestions that could contribute to worsening the symptoms of eating disorders. While AI can be useful, programming to be able to empathize and provide the right kind of help is very difficult. Thus, the AI chatbot ‘Tessa’ received a lot of negative comments. Later, it was shut down due to constant criticism and to stop harming people with eating disorders any further.

Read More: Addressing the Impact of AI Worries in the Workplace

5. The Survey part of 2023 Best Countries Rankings:

A survey conducted as a part of the 2023 Best Country Rankings, answered by 17,000 participants across 36 nations, reflected people’s stand on the importance of mental health. Nearly 93% were in agreement with the statement “Mental health care is just as important as physical health care.” While the number of people who agreed with the statement varied in different nations, the majority answered with ‘strongly agree’. The results obtained from the survey show that there’s more acceptance of mental health, which assures those working towards promoting mental health that their efforts are not in vain.

Read More: The Comparison of Mental Health with Physical Health

6. CALM Suicide Campaign:

The Annual Connecting the Dots report looks at the customer trends of 2023. It covers a campaign launched the previous year that gained success over time, launched by CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), a suicide prevention charity. This campaign took the form of a video ad, compiling the last videos taken by the loved ones of those who died by Suicide. These were clips where they looked seemingly happy and laughing. Under the campaign, 50 portraits of people who died by suicide were installed in London’s Southbank. The campaign focused on starting conversations around suicide so it becomes easier for people to talk about their struggles. It aimed to show the world how difficult it is to spot a person who is at risk of dying by suicide. It encourages people to remove the stigma around the topic in an attempt to save more lives.

iCall Suicide Helpline: 9152987821

7. State Government’s plans regarding ‘Mental Asylums’:

In Mumbai, Mental Hospitals still follow the architecture and medical practices of the British Raj. Finally, there are plans to develop these hospitals. To detach the stigma that goes along with mental hospitals and to let people walk in freely, the government decided to strip the idea of a ‘Pagal khana’. To do this, plans are being made to establish these mental hospitals as ‘mental gyms’. The government aims to meet the standards of NIMHANS, Bangalore with their efforts. Dr. Swapnil Lele, Additional Director at the State Health Department, says “No one would like to go to a hospital, but most like going to gyms to feel better about themselves. We want to extend the same logic to mental health”.

The spotlight that mental health is getting is deserved and needed. As mental health is gaining recognition, the stigma surrounding it is being reduced. It is being advocated by celebrities and mental health professionals that people look up to. The final aim is to reach a position where people are comfortable to seek help from professionals without the fear of being judged. Inclusivity and empathy are characteristics that are constantly being instilled nowadays. These are just some of many such instances around the world that prioritize mental health and reiterate its importance.

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