Maintaining mental integrity during Covid-19 crisis | Sunday Observer
World Mental Health Day

Maintaining mental integrity during Covid-19 crisis

11 October, 2020

World Mental Health Day fell yesterday. This year’s theme was “Mental Health for All –Greater Investment and Greater Access for everyone, everywhere”.

The motto of the World Health Organisation is “No development without health, no health without mental health”.

According to the National Mental Health Survey in Sri Lanka, carried out by the Institute for Research and Development in Health and Social Care, 10 percent of Sri Lankans suffer from some form of mental illness.

On this Global Mental Health Day, we are not only talking about that 10 percent, but also about protecting and promoting mental health among the people.

This is more important than ever because of the importance of maintaining the mental integrity of the people in face of the global Covid-19 crisis.

There is a certain degree of reluctance to talk about mental illness in society. The reason for this is that mental illness is linked with the notion of stigma, and the people suffering from mental illness may be subjected to discrimination. But because we are talking about mental health, it must be understood that the entire population today is affected in some way. Many people are stressed out. Some others who have Covid-19 may try to hide it from society. None of these are indications of mental illness, but are based on what they think, and feel leading to unhelpful behaviours. In the face of such a complex crisis, we suggest that you use today’s dedication to mental health, to bring to the table how you should work collectively at home, at work, to promote and maintain your mental health.

The media has a huge responsibility in this regard. That is, to contribute as much as possible to the role of promoting mental health. It is also the duty of every politician, every professional, and every citizen.

Mental illness is one of the leading components of non-communicable diseases, especially in the context of changing lifestyles, food habits, human relationships and decaying in traditional values witnessed in the modern world.

The promotion of mental health should be used as a pervasive theme in the school, from the kindergarten to the advanced level, in the university system, and at every workplace. Mental health promotion is not just a slogan, but should be part of social activism. It is the responsibility of every citizen and not just the responsibility of the Head of State or the Ministry of Health.