In 1992, the World Federation for Mental Health, World Health Organization, and member organizations of WFMH celebrated World Mental Health Day for the first time at the initiative of Deputy Secretary General Richard Hunter. The day had no specific ‘theme’ rather focused on promoting mental health advocacy and educating the public.
This year, WHO is focusing on the effects of COVID19 on our mental health:
“The past months have brought many challenges: for health-care workers, providing care in difficult circumstances, going to work fearful of bringing COVID-19 home with them; for students, adapting to taking classes from home, with little contact with teachers and friends, and anxious about their futures; for workers whose livelihoods are threatened; for the vast number of people caught in poverty or in fragile humanitarian settings with extremely limited protection from COVID-19; and for people with mental health conditions, many experiencing even greater social isolation than before. And this is to say nothing of managing the grief of losing a loved one, sometimes without being able to say goodbye. Investment in mental health programmes at the national and international levels, which have already suffered from years of chronic underfunding, is now more important than it has ever been.”
This is important in the Travel Community because traveling is a way of improving your mental health. WHO is encouraging the investment into resources but it can also be you investing in yourself. It could be a short-distance trip to get out in nature, visiting friends who live in other places, or traveling to experience something new. As we travel, we meet people from around the world who have their own stories, struggles, dreams, paths, etc. To learn about where people come from makes our trips more enriching. Listening is a powerful tool. If you see a friend struggling or a friend you haven’t heard from in awhile, ask them to be your travel partner for a trip! Traveling enhances your relationships and improves mental health - so why not take a vacation!