With the evenings getting shorter and the looming threat of further Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, the need for World Mental Health day is evident now more than ever.

Research undertaken by the MIND charity found that more than half of adults and over two thirds of young people questioned felt that their mental health had worsened during lockdown. Many people would have developed mental health disorders as a direct result of the pandemic ranging from depression, anxiety and agoraphobia. To add to this, we are now starting the Seasonal Affective Disorder season where many people develop depression during the darker winter months.

This makes this World Mental Health Day one of the most important awareness days to date. In this blog we look at what World Mental Health Day is and what you can do to get involved.

The Origin of World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day was first observed in 1992 as annual activity by the World Federation for Mental Health. The World Federation for Mental Health is a global mental health organisation with members in 150 countries.

World Mental Health Day is observed on the 10th of October each year and it has its own individual theme – this year’s theme is ‘Mental Health For All’. It sets out to be an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against the social stigma that orbits around mental health – everyone may be battling something which you may not be aware of.

What can you do to help?

This year, MIND wants to mark the day by encouraging each of us to do one thing to better our mental health. Whether that is doing something creative (take up a new hobby such as painting or sewing – ordering funky fabrics online and making masks is so 2020!), starting a fitness plan (hello endorphins!), or taking the first steps to getting support for yourself or reaching out to someone else – MIND wants everyone to get involved and to share their one thing with their family and friends to encourage others to do the same.

As World Mental Health Day is on Sunday the 10th of October, why take a moment to check in with yourself and those around you – ring that friend you haven’t seen in for months, meet up for a chat over a cup of tea or go for a walk in the park with those you live with. There are also many free downloadable video platforms available like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams that you can use to keep in touch with friends and family.

Whatever you decide to do, remember to spread the word however you can to help tear down the stigma that surrounds mental health across the world.

Do you need help?

As veterinary nurses, we work in close proximity to our colleagues everyday and we may be able to see when someone is distressed, or struggling with anxiety or depression. One of the difficulties around the reduction of staffing during Covid-19 is that being able to talk to someone trusted at work may not be an option anymore.

If you are or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues and would like some support, the BVNA supports Vetlife – a registered charity that supports the veterinary community by offering support for work, emotional, addictive or financial problems. You can call them or send an anonymous email any time of the day – they offer a 24-hour service every day of the year. The Vetlife phone number is 0303 040 2551 – The volunteers at Vetlife are experienced in mental health and in the veterinary profession too.

Alternatively, The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or go to the MIND website for further information are tips to help with your mental health.