“As we approach the second winter of this pandemic, the impacts on mental health are increasing and demand immediate action. Mental health and well-being have long been ignored or met with caring words, followed by little else. This World Mental Health Day, we are demanding governments show their commitment through action! The pandemic has greatly harmed the mental health of many. As a society, we must take on the challenge of providing support to those struggling with mental health issues.” ― Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Ottawa (07 Oct. 2021) ― This World Mental Health Day (WMHD), October 10, 2021, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is recognizing the mental health crisis as urgent and unrelenting, and is calling on all levels of government to act.
Mental health in an unequal world
The theme of WMHD 2021 is “Mental Health in an Unequal World” and this is a critical message. The pandemic has not impacted everyone equally; it has caused disproportionate harm, often based on status and security within the society. The economically disadvantaged often have little choice but to do the most dangerous frontline jobs that have a higher risk of infection. The combination of fear for economic security and physical health exacerbates mental and emotional disorders.
There is no health without mental health
Mental health is a hidden scourge, often going undiagnosed and untreated. It has a direct impact on physical health. with some pre-pandemic estimates suggesting that 14% of the global burden of disease can be attributed to mental health disorders. The pandemic has likely increased this percentage as social isolation, economic uncertainty and anxiety about the virus all contribute to greater risk.
Real impacts and needed investment
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Mental health is one of the most neglected areas of public health. Close to 1 billion people are living with a mental disorder, 3 million people die every year from the harmful use of alcohol and one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide.”
Globally, spending on mental health is only 2% of health care budgets. There is obviously much more room for investment and the opportunity to make a real impact.
Mental health and universal public health care
There is still social stigma, discrimination, and human rights abuses against people with mental health conditions, which further pushes people into …….