2020 has been a challenging year. A global pandemic and the social distancing measures introduced to counter it have had a pronounced effect on mental health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Covid-19 has contributed to mental health issues like extensive fear and uncertainty about the future, anxiety and even depression.

In light of these developments, it is more important than ever before to raise awareness about mental health problems and the need for their adequate treatment.

October 10 marks World Mental Health Day each year. In 2020, this day plays a bigger role than ever before. With the dramatic changes we’ve been going through, recognising psychological anguish and the serious effect it can have on one’s wellbeing can actually save lives.

To honour World Mental Health Day 2020, we have compiled a list of important facts. We hope that this selection contributes to a higher level of awareness and enables us to educate you about crucial aspects of mental health in the contemporary world.

A Global Event Will Be Held to Mark the Day

For the first time ever, WHO will be holding a global online event dedicated to World Mental Health Day.

The online advocacy event will bring together world leaders, mental health experts and an array of celebrity guests who will discuss the various ways in which mental health care can be improved and made available to everyone.

All social media channels will be used to stream the event, allowing attendees to learn and ask questions as the panel discussion is unfolding. The link above contains more information on how to watch the event via your social platform of preference (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or TikTok).

Mental Health Problems Are More Prevalent Than Generally Believed

As there’s still some stigma surrounding mental health problems, widespread discussions about those are non-existent in many parts of the world.

And since these issues aren’t being spoken of, many people underestimate the scope of the problem.

Statistics show that one in seven people globally will face mental health or substance abuse issues in their lifetime. This means that anywhere between 11 and 18 per cent of the global population will be affected.

Most people will go through an anxiety disorder – about four per cent of the world’s population.

Luckily, the prevalence of mental health disorders hasn’t increased. You may feel that it has but such perceptions are the result of higher levels of awareness and more openness on such topics.

Children Are Affected, As Well!

Unfortunately, mental health disorders aren’t reserved for adults alone.

WHO reports that one in five children or adolescents across the world are affected by some type of mental health disorder.

Children who go through a mental disorder, especially the ones that aren’t properly diagnosed and treated, will be more likely to experience poor academic performance and bad relationships with their peers. In addition, they’re also more likely to experience additional health problems like asthma and diabetes.

The State of Mental Health in Singapore

Let’s zoom in on Singapore after we’ve taken a look at some worldwide phenomena.

Singapore is recognised to have one of the best healthcare systems in the world. When it comes to mental health, however, there are still areas in need of improvement.

According to the Singapore Mental Health Study conducted by the Institute of Mental Health and released in 2019, Singaporeans have one of the highest rates of major depressive disorders in comparison to seven other high income nations.

Approximately 14 per cent of Singaporeans have experienced have experienced a mood, anxiety or substance abuse disorder in their lifetime. Major depressive disorder (MDD) is the most commonly diagnosed mental health problem, affecting one in 16 people.

Several demographics are most likely to be affected. These include individuals in the 18 to 34 age group, those who are divorced or separated from a partner, children and elderly Singaporeans.

What You Can Do to Promote Better Mental Health

Higher levels of awareness and the normalisation of mental health problems both start with individual efforts.

There are many things you can do. The first one is to educate yourself and be mindful of the potential mental health problems that your loved ones could be experiencing. Resources like the Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic blog could provide valuable tips and guidance into this complex world.

If you are very interested in turning the situation around, choose a career path focused on mental health or volunteer for an organisation that’s on a mission to boost awareness.

In Singapore, the National Council of Social Service, The Institute of Mental Health and organisations like Silver Ribbon all have volunteer programs aimed at increasing awareness and bringing down the stigma still connected to mental health problems.

You can do a lot more in your everyday life. Parents need to have open and honest discussions with their kids about mental health and the effect of social problems like bullying or cyber stalking. Opening up about your own experiences and struggles can also be encouraging for others, prompting them to do the same.

Finally, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance when you become overwhelmed or you feel that a loved one is suffering.

The Adelphi Psych Medicine clinic team of psychiatrists and psychologists in Singapore specialise in various holistic therapeutic approaches. We offer depression treatment, art therapy, child counselling and other treatment options.

Contact us today to have your questions answered or to schedule your first appointment with an Adelphi psychologist