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World Mental Health Day, 10th October 2020

17 Sep 2020

Mental health is one of the most neglected areas of public health. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is further affecting people’s mental health and well-being as well as disrupting health services around the world.

Relatively few people around the world had access to quality, affordable mental health care in the world before the pandemic. In low- and middle-income countries, more than 75% of people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders receive no treatment for their condition at all. Furthermore, stigma, discrimination, punitive legislation and human rights abuses are still widespread.

According to The World Health Organization (WHO):

  • nearly 1 billion people are living with a mental disorder
  • around 3 million people die annually from the harmful use of alcohol
  • one person every 40 seconds dies by suicide

This year the WHO, together with partner organisations, United for Global Mental Health and the World Federation for Mental Health have initiated a campaign, "Move for mental health: let’s invest" to encourage a massive scale-up in mental health investment and public action around the world.

Key events:

From 01 September: The World Federation for Mental Health launched 45 days of awareness-raising activities led by the Federation’s youth section, including a global online discussion forum and art exhibition.

  • Further information is available here.

09 October: The 24-hour March for Mental Health

United for Global Mental Health will be encouraging people from around the world to participate in a 24-hour livestream virtual march to help increase awareness of mental health issues, break down stigma and bring about policy change.

Members of the public will be urged to “add their voice” and join the March using online filters to be released in the lead-up to the event.

  • Further information about the event is available here

10 October: The Big Event for Mental Health

On World Mental Health Day, the World Health Organization will host a global online advocacy event on mental health.

World leaders, mental health experts and celebrity guests will join WHO Director-General to tell the world what we can all do to improve our mental health and how we can help make sure that quality mental health care is available to everyone who needs it.

  • Further information about the event is available here.

For information on travel health advice relating to mental health, please see the fitfortravel Mental Health and Travel page.