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World Mental Health Day

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A Day for Forty Seconds of Action”​

World Mental Health Day is a day dedicated to spreading awareness of the increasing number of chronic mental health issues experienced by people across the globe. The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) initiated World Mental Health Day to mobilize efforts in support of mental health advocacy. According to a report from the WFMH President:

  • About 450 million people live with mental disorders that are among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide (WHO’s World Health Report, 2001). One person in every four will be affected by a mental disorder at some stage of their lives while mental, neurological and substance use disorders exact a high toll on health outcomes, accounting for 13% of the total global burden of disease (WHO, 2012). The World Health Organization (2018) states that every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide. Annually, this represents over 800 000 people that die by suicide, which is more than people dying by war and homicide put together.

 This finding alone inspired the WFMH to put forth a day to spread awareness of some of the mental health issues plaguing our world and advocating for efficient mental health support services to mitigate the risk of suicide worldwide. 

World Mental Health Day has been observed on October 10th since 1992, but can be honoured on any of the days that correspond to your workweek. Please note: although it is observed one day of the year, there is always room to advocate for Mental Health Support Services throughout the rest of the year.

We celebrate World Mental Day to prioritize the needs of those struggling with mental health in an effort to combat the mental health crisis worldwide. We honour World Mental Health day to acknowledge the 1/4 adults and 1/10 children currently diagnosed with some form of mental health related illness that struggle maintaining jobs and/or relationships. By honouring them we can advocate to end the stigma regarding mental health with education so they are exposed to the support in their network, making it easier for them to pursue and participate in effective treatment without judgement. In fact, 2019’s World Mental Health Day was dedicated to the theme of “Suicide Prevention,” to raise awareness of the tragic estimation that every 40 seconds someone loses their life to suicide. By participating in 40 seconds of actionWorld Mental Health let those struggling know they are not alone. World Mental Health Day is meant to share knowledge by identifying causes related to mental health, pinpointing solutions, and recognizing mental health related illness as medical illnesses that require ethical care and treatment. This is achieved through awareness as an intervention measure, advocacy in pushing for accessible psychosocial support, and empathy in understanding mental health with a ‘trauma informed care’ (TMI) approach.

Everyone, including those from diverse and intersectional backgrounds, can observe World Mental Health Day. The unfortunate truth is that mental health, along with being a silent killer, does not discriminate based on gender or sexual identity, race, religion, or economic background. It is important to note that World Mental Health Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, while pushing for what needs to be done to make efficient mental health care support services a reality for people worldwide.

You can celebrate World Mental Health Day at home, at work, on the street, or Trickster’s FAVOURITE place, in school!

You can celebrate World Mental Health Day by talking about what mental health is and why it is so important. You can take part in the World Federation for Mental Health’s “40 Seconds of Action” campaign encouraging people to take 40 seconds to create meaningful change. Along with this you can educate yourself on the effects of mental health illness, listening to the lived experience of those struggling with mental health and discovering ways to implement brave spaces while advocating for efficient mental health support in your school. You can also celebrate by ending the stigma surrounding mental health by learning about mental illness as a chronic illness and sharing what you learn with your classmates, your teachers, your friends, your coworkers, and your family. You can also plan and Event Day using these activities.


Event Days give you the ability to not only explore World Mental Health Day, but also an opportunity to broaden that learning into experiential projects which can be shared. You can share them throughout your school, with other classes, and even more broadly if you choose. The ability for your students to not only have a project of their own, but to be able to see what other students were able to come up with, broadens the viewpoints and creates more dialogue surrounding the issues.

One size does not fit all

How you and your school decide to use the suggested activities, performances, and resources will depend completely on what you and your peers are comfortable with, and the time you have available to designate to the project(s). Trickster is also available to consult with if you would like extra help, resource connections, and/or coordination. You can go big, involving every class with different projects, performances and events throughout the school, or, you can go as small as just doing an activity listed in the materials for your own class which you believe will help them connect to the subject matter. 

Due to the circumstances of COVID19, not everything suggested will be possible, and many will need to be adjusted to suit your needs and comfort level. As we hope to carry this forward, and know that schools are looking to future projects much further down the road, we do want to plant the seeds for what those event days might look like too. There will be suggestions throughout on how you can modify activities for social distancing, but you are also able at any point to choose and modify activities and projects to achieve the level of safety your school is comfortable with.

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