World Mental Health Day

Greenbrook TMS NeuroHealth Centers is proud to celebrate World Mental Health Day. This is the 20th anniversary of this special day. We have been working hard over the past year to promote TMS Therapy as a new treatment for depression. We have had many friends who have successfully completed their treatment and gotten the lives back on track.

World Mental Health Day raises public awareness about mental health issues. The day promotes open discussion of mental disorders, and investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services. This year the theme for the day is “Depression: A Global Crisis”.

Here is an excerpt from the World Federation for Mental Health 2012 Report: DEPRESSION: A Global Crisis.

20 years on

World Mental Health Day was established in 1992 thanks to the work of Richard (Dick) Hunter, the Deputy Secretary General of the World Federation for Mental Health. After a period of planning the Federation proclaimed 10 October as World Mental Health Day and Dick looked for ways to build support for it. He saw the value of working with a television producer, Richard Leighton, to make a global telecast the central feature of worldwide activities. The World Health Organization agreed to become a co-sponsor, and the project was also supported by the Carter Center when former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter agreed to become honorary chair of the event.

The immediate goal of the project was to draw attention to mental health as a cause common to all people across national, cultural, political and socioeconomic boundaries. The longer term goal was to establish parity for mental health with physical health in national health priorities and services. The first Day was a great success. A two-hour telecast was broadcast to 127 countries by the U.S. Information Agency WorldNet satellite network. A number of Federation officers and mental health leaders assembled in a television studio in Tallahassee, Florida in the United States for the program. Similar groups gathered in studios in other locations around the world to watch and, from some sites, to participate directly in the telecast. This was before the Internet era, and at the time it was a cutting edge use of telecommunications technology.

I was the President of the World Federation for Mental Health at the time, and as co-chair of that first World Mental Health Day participated in the telecast from a television studio in Auckland, New Zealand. We were one of the sites that fed in commentary and I remain grateful to colleagues who joined me during the very early hours of that morning. In New Zealand our Minister of Health made a formal announcement in recognition of the Day and 4 local Federation members accompanied Joan Bolger, the wife of the Prime Minister, on a visit to community mental health facilities. Local Mental Health Associations and other NGOs organised events in other parts of the country.

The Federation’s Secretariat received reports from about 40 countries that first year describing a wide range of activities to promote mental health causes. It was pleasing to see that the Day had clearly focused official and public attention in so many parts of the world, including countries where mental health was very low on political agendas and poorly resourced.

Global telecasts were also a feature of the 1993 and 1994 World Mental Health Days, but they were very expensive enterprises and there was insufficient funding to sustain them after 1994. In subsequent years emphasis was placed on the preparation and distribution of planning kits, with background information focusing on each Day’s particular theme, and resources to assist with local activities. Translations from English to other languages expanded. Over time Internet distribution and the production of DVDs augmented and then largely replaced the physical distribution of the printed planning kits through the post.

To download the complete report: DEPRESSION: A Global Crisis. October 10, 2012