World Mental Health Day 2013

Posted on October 11, 2013

The theme of World Mental Health Day in 2013 is “Mental health and older adults”.

Every year on 10th of October, The World Health Organization joins in celebrating the World Mental Health Day. The day is celebrated at the initiative of the World Federation of Mental Health and WHO supports this initiative through raising awareness on mental health issues using its strong relationships with the Ministries of health and civil society organizations across the globe. WHO also develops technical and communication material and provides technical assistance to the countries for advocacy campaigns around the World Mental Health Day.

World Mental Health Day was initiated by World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) in 1992 to highlight the importance of mental health. The WFMH Board of Directors of WFMH has chosen “Mental Health and Older Adults” as the theme for World Mental Health Day on 10th October 2013. The theme highlights the lengthening span of the life course which in many developed countries encompasses more years at work, more years of an active lifestyle in retirement, and a growing cohort of “oldest old” people in their 80s and 90s. This is creating a new concept of “old age.” In lower income countries citizens often have shorter lifespans, and receive limited help as they age. The promotion of good mental health is an important part of the World Mental Health Day theme, as is attention to the mental health problems that older citizens may experience.

Many adults enjoy vigorous activity as they age and remain in the workforce longer. Once retired they may contribute to society as volunteers and often provide family support such as caring for grandchildren or for an infirm spouse or relative. Social connections have been recognized as a positive factor in promoting the wellbeing of older adults, and strategies to strengthen a network of such connections are very valuable.

Some key facts:

• The proportion of the world’s people reaching old age is growing dramatically as a consequence of success in improving health care and living standards.

• According to the World Health Organization the proportion of the world population over 60 years will double between 2000 and 2050, from around 11% to 22%.

• Within the cohort of older adults, more people are living to be over 80 and 90.

• Women predominate among those reaching extreme old age, as they have longer life spans on average.

• Older people often have several health problems at once; long-term conditions such as heart conditions, cancer and diabetes are known to place people at risk for mental disorders, and a number of them will experience depression and anxiety.

• Substance abuse involving alcohol and drugs is an issue that is often ignored.

• Dementia is a rising problem as more people live into extreme old age.

World Mental Health Day 2013 aims to encourage governments and organizations around the world, in countries at all income levels, to look at the mental health issues experienced by older people in their communities and to consider their needs for support and services. Improvements in provisions for care require careful planning, advocacy, and the involvement of concerned individuals.

Click on the link below to read the full document produced by the World Federation for Mental Health in commemoration of World Mental Health Day

Category(s):Aging & Geriatric Issues

Source material from World Federation for Mental Health

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