World Mental Health Day 2019 blog on plenareno mental health and psychiatry conferences

World Mental Health Day - October 10, 2019

World Mental Health Day is widely celebrated on 10 October every year, with the purpose of promoting awareness of mental health issues around the world and driving efforts in support of mental health. This year the main theme of World Mental Health Day is “Suicide Prevention”.

The object of making suicide prevention the theme of World Mental Health Day in 2019 is to attract the attention of governments so that the issue might be given priority in public health agendas around the world.

Suicidal behaviour has existed throughout human history, but due to several complex factors, it has increased gradually in all parts of the world and, in the past few decades, has reached alarming statistical levels. It is important to emphasize that it is a topic that has attracted the interest of most fields of study for centuries, which is why it has been explored by philosophy, religion, medicine,
sociology, bioethics, law, and psychology, among other fields.

According to research more than 800,000 people die by suicide a year, making it the principal cause of death among people fifteen to twenty-nine years old. It is often believed that it is only adults who exhibit suicidal behaviours, but it should be made known that many children and young people engage in this kind of behaviour as a result of violence, sexual abuse, bullying and cyber bullying.

Suicide is a global public health problem that deserves the attention of all the actors in the field of mental health, including scientific and professional organizations, organizations for mental health users and their families, and universities. It deserves particular attention from national health authorities, since it is their responsibility to craft policies and directives aimed at establishing strategies to prevent suicide and promote the public’s mental health. The role of both print and audiovisual communication media and of social media is no less important, since their participation can have positive as well as negative effects, depending on how they address this subject.

What is suicidal behavior?

The best-known definition is the one that Durkheim articulated in his famous work Suicide. In effect, in this book, the author defines suicide as a term “applied to all cases of death resulting directly or indirectly from a positive or negative action of the victim himself, which he knows will produce this conclusion”.

Suicide is preventable and can therefore be avoided, which is why all of our efforts and public policies should focus on prevention. However, oftentimes, people who suffer from mental illness lack access to mental health services, sometimes because there are no services in their community and sometimes because they must wait months to be seen.

We invite you to join the campaign for Mental Health Day 2019 and, to make a big difference all over the world to this very important issue.