World Mental Health Day, Oct. 10, is commemorated with the objective to raise awareness about the varied mental health issues affecting people around the world. Started in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health, this day is also used to mobilize efforts to expand mental healthcare and to reduce the stigma around mental health issues generally.


According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults over 18 – almost 20 percent of the population. Other important factors to recognize:

  • Less than 40 percent of those suffering with anxiety seek treatment.
  • Anxiety stems from a variety of factors – genetics, brain chemistry, situational factors and personality.
  • It is not uncommon for someone with a depressive disorder to also suffer from anxiety, or vice versa. Nearly half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with anxiety.
  • According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 13 globally suffers from anxiety – making it the most common mental disorder worldwide.

The reach of common anxiety disorders:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder – nearly 7 millions U.S. adults
  • Panic disorder – 6 million U.S. adults
  • Social anxiety disorder – 15 million U.S. adults
  • Phobias – 19 million U.S. adults.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder – 2.2. million U.S. adults
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder – 7.7 million U.S. adults. The most common triggers are rape and childhood sexual abuse.

*Statistics taken from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America unless otherwise marked.

World Mental Health Day

Each year’s commemoration has a theme; this year’s is Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention. The main focal points include improving awareness of the significance of suicide as a global, public health issue; improving knowledge and techniques to prevent suicide; reducing the stigma of suicide; and helping those who are suffering from suicidal thoughts.

The World Health Organization encourages people to take 40 seconds today either to start a conversation about mental health with a friend or colleague or take the time to share information about mental health resources. The 40 second time phrase reflects the fact that one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds globally.

If you are interested in helping raise awareness on mental health issues,
or need resources yourself, here are global and local organizations to contact:

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