Why #WorldMentalHealthDay Actually Matters

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Now that there is a day for tacos, donuts, and everything in between, it’s easy to just gloss over World Mental Health Day as another hashtag. But unlike tacos and donuts, for generations people with mental illness were alienated by society. They were chained, institutionalized, and in some cases, murdered. 

World Mental Health Day was created way before Instagram as a global effort to educate people in 150 countries about mental illness and advocate against stigma. So, whether you want to use the #WorldMentalHealthDay or not, here are three quick things you need to know about mental health.

Everyone has mental health.

Just like everyone with teeth has dental health, everyone with a mind has mental health. But unlike our dental and physical health, we typically don’t think about our mental health unless something feels wrong.

Many of us need treatment and support to be mentally healthy.

One in five people will experience a mental disorder— like anxiety, depression, or addiction— at some point in his or her life. The stigma that comes hand-in-hand with it can be isolating, scary, and the symptoms may derail their social life, education, and career. When left untreated, mental illness can lead to suicide or overdose; now a leading cause of death in the United States.  

Treatment works— but it’s complicated.

It is possible to have a mental illness and live a happy and healthy life. You just need the right care and support. It’s finding that support and paying for it that often trips people up. That’s because our health care system is a hot mess.  

I wrote Everything Is Going to Be OK to help people find their way through the maze to find treatment and therapy that actually works, learn their rights, and get busy living the good life they deserve.