World Mental Health Day this year comes at a time when every aspect of our daily lives is upheaved by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had already reported alarming statistics of 1 in every 3 persons having a mental disorder and a suicide being committed every 40 seconds. Social distancing measures combined with socio-economic challenges has exacerbated the mental health scene with many experiencing even greater isolation and mental distress than ever before.
We can help the situation in our personal capacities by reaching out to those around us with more empathy. By developing our empathy in understanding the challenges others face, we are able to respond in a more compassionate, kind and patient manner. This creates an environment where people feel safe to talk about their mental health as well as avoid stigmas of consulting a mental health professional.
Concurrently, we should also be cognizant of our own mental well-being and strengthen it through the cultivation of mindfulness and wisdom. What arises will also pass; accepting this reality of ‘Anicca’ will guard our minds from unnecessary proliferation or giving in to fear and anxiety. When we are able to maintain our mental well-being, our capacity to help others will also be more magnanimous.
May those who experience mental anguish and pain have the support from their loved ones to overcome this difficult time in their lives. May all of us be well and peaceful.