World Mental Health Day (October 10) calls attention to the continuing need for education, awareness, and advocacy on mental health. First celebrated in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health, World Mental Health Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to make strong mental health a reality for people worldwide. This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day – psychological first aid – is rather timely.

A recent report demonstrates that declines in self-reported health, mental health, and ability to work, as well as increased reports of pain and alcohol misuse, are attributable to growing mid-life distresses in the United States (US). The growing opioid epidemic also demonstrates the need for stronger mental health services. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) indicates that more people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than any year previously on record, with a majority of these overdoses involving an opioid. Prevention, treatment, research, and policy responses are all needed to improve mental well-being and reverse the opioid epidemic.

Investments in psychological first aid should be part of a longer-term effort to ensure access to mental health support. Those who need more than psychological first aid must be able to receive additional advanced support from health, mental health, and social services. It is important for citizens, employers, governments, and other stakeholders to be educated on how to help those impacted by crisis events. This Mental Health Day, take a few minutes to consider how you can help those suffering from poor mental health.

Let us know how you are addressing mental health today by Tweeting @VitalityUSA.

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