World Mental Health Day: Send a text. Save a life
The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is ‘Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority’. Chosen by a vote of members and supporters of the World Federation for Mental Health, it comes at a time when the global community faces many challenges.
The theme highlights one of SANE’s core beliefs that protecting mental health should be a priority for all of us. We all have a responsibility to reconnect and stay connected with those who are struggling.
Making mental health a priority
The Coronavirus pandemic has created a global crisis for mental health, fuelling short and long-term stresses, and undermining the health of millions. The WHO estimates that both anxiety and depressive disorders have risen by over 25% since the first year of the pandemic.
As the world focuses on protecting and improving everyone’s mental health, SANE is spotlighting how the simple act of sending a text to a loved one or long-lost friend, can be a comforting reminder that they’re not alone, and that you care and are thinking about them.
By reaching out with something as quick as a text, you can help prevent problems from escalating. A text message at the right time could even save a life.
Together, we all have a responsibility to protect each other. This World Mental Health Day, SANE is asking you to check in with someone you think might be having a hard time, or someone you haven’t seen for a while.
No-one affected by mental illness should be alone when they face crisis, distress or despair. This vision underpins all of our work and is an essential factor in any effort to reduce the overall numbers of people experiencing mental ill-health.
Image: Send a Text, Save a Life by Mathew Johnstone
Black Dog Campaign
Send a Text supports the central message of SANE’s Black Dog Campaign, which encourages people to seek help early and talk about their feelings rather than suffering alone in silence. Talking about and articulating those darker feelings of anxiety, loneliness or sadness can stop them from growing into something more extreme. Intervening as early as possible is the best way of helping anyone who may be in distress.
SANE has put together some sample texts to help take that first crucial step, by sending a supportive, simple message. Here are some messages you can send to a friend or someone who you think may be struggling – and not just on World Mental Health Day!
- “I’ve noticed you’ve been a bit quiet lately. If there’s anything you’d like to chat about, I’m here and willing to listen.”
- “Just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you.”
- “You seem a bit down lately, and I wasn’t sure what to say, but I am thinking of you. If you’d like to talk to someone, I’m here, or Sane.org.uk offers support too.”
Mental health now ranks second among global health concerns, overtaking cancer. Access to mental health services remains unequal in both rich countries and poor, a reflection of the unequal funding that mental health receives in broader national health budgets.
This, combined with stigma and discrimination, can often contribute to very different outcomes depending on a person’s socio-economic status, or their sex, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.
In high income countries over 75% of people with depression have reported that they do not receive adequate care and in low and middle-income countries over 75% of people with mental health conditions have received no treatment at all.
Our world is reeling under the effects of the pandemic, wars, displacement, and the climate emergency, all of which have consequences for the wellbeing of world citizens. Rates of people experiencing suicidal thoughts are increasing globally.
In this country, the waiting list for NHS mental health care stands at close to 1.6 million people, including 374,000 under-18s. And as many as 8 million more, including people suffering from bipolar disorder, psychosis self-harm or suicidal thoughts, are not meeting the threshold to access the services they need to help them because their needs cannot be met by existing services.
The government must show real and lasting commitment to expand and continue to transform mental health services in line with its NHS Long Term. Our experience of the increasing levels of depression, fear and distress amongst those who contact us strongly suggests the NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed by a mental health epidemic.
SANE’s Textcare service – designed to provide emotional support and connection at the times you need it most.
World Mental Health Day – wmhdofficial.com
Every Mind Matters – NHS UK