The mental health
“Mental health is a universal human right": this is the meaning of World Mental Health Day 2023.
Let's understand what it is, how its importance has changed over the years, and how to take care of it.
What "mental health" means
When we talk about "health," we refer to a state of well-being of our body that allows it to function properly. Mental health, or mental well-being, is the term used to describe our psychological, emotional, and social well-being; a condition that, if altered, not only negatively affects our psyche but the entire person, leading to disorders such as anxiety, stress, depression, or other issues often related to food or sleep.
Awareness that matures over time
The impact of mental well-being on our lives was evident during the Covid-19 pandemic: a period of great stress that brought us into deep contact with our "self," with our concerns, making these signs of distress impossible to overlook.
To address mental disorders (anxiety, stress, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, addiction, eating disorders, etc.), the World Health Organization declared October 10th as World Mental Health Day: a symbolic date to raise public awareness about mental health issues, emphasizing its importance and ensuring it is not perceived as a secondary part of our health.
Mental well-being for adults and children
An adult is subjected to a multitude of factors that can compromise mental well-being: work-related stress, facing a period of severe economic crisis, the anxiety of being a parent, or feeling dissatisfied are just some of the common situations. But even the mental health of children - although it may be thought that they have a naturally carefree life - should not go unnoticed.
From an early age, children need support from their reference educational figures (parents, relatives, teachers) in developing behavioral and social skills that help them interact properly with others or react positively to failure. After overcoming this initial phase of growth, young people must face one of the periods with very high rates of mental disorders: adolescence.
According to the UNICEF 2021 report "The State of the World's Children - In My Mind: Promoting, Protecting, and Supporting the Mental Health of Children and Young People," 1 in 7 adolescents has a diagnosed mental disorder, 40% of which is related to anxiety or depression. These disorders, if treated promptly with the right specialist support and with close loved ones, can be resolved. However, this discomfort often leads young people to think that they have no alternatives, making suicide one of the top five causes of death among 15- to 19-year-olds worldwide; in Europe, it is the second cause after road accidents.
Projects for mental health
Making mental health support more active, close to those who need it and accessible is the mission of various public and private organizations and third-sector entities that we also support to implement projects that help children, adolescents, adults, and their respective families.
Since 2010, we have been supporting the Progetto Itaca Foundation with the aim of combating mental disorders in adolescents starting from schools. Additionally, with "Prevenzione Scuola" (School Prevention), which we have supported, the Foundation has brought awareness and information programs on mental health and listening desks to schools in Naples, Palermo, Lecce, Lamezia, and Padua to respond promptly to the needs of young people.
In the Brescia area, the project we support by the Association Fraternità Giovani Cooperativa Sociale ONLUS "Mind-Net" began in September 2022: a listening network to safeguard the mental health of young people from 11 to 18 years old with very active involvement of families.
These are just a few examples of our way of contributing to helping those with mental health issues, but each of us can make a difference: if you know someone in need of support, the best advice is to turn to a specialist who can guide them on a path to mental well-being.