World Mental Health Day 2020

October 10th 2020


World Mental Health Day is commemorated on 10th October every year, with the aim of raising awareness on mental health issues and mobilizing efforts to support mental health. This year’s World Mental Health Day is even more felt than before under the stresses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted mental health of millions around the world. COVID-19 brought many challenges for health-care workers and the general public. Stressful and difficult work circumstances, adapting to working and schooling from home, staying away from loved ones, colleagues and friends, anxieties about our futures – not only related to the risk of falling prey to COVID-19, but also loosing loved ones or even our livelihoods. Therefore, it is important to increase investment in mental health, in order to keep our quality of life intact in these difficult times. That’s why the theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day, is chosen as: Greater Investment – Greater Access.


When discussing about the quality of life, use of tobacco, alcohol, cannabis and other drugs cannot be dismissed lightly. They have again and again proven to be major determinants of mental ill-health, contributing immensely to the global burden of mental illnesses, violence and suicides. Tobacco smoking, while being a known risk factor for many respiratory infections and increase of the severity of respiratory diseases including COVID-19, is also identified as a risk factor for Schizophrenia. The tobacco industry, along with its peers in alcohol, cannabis and other illicit drug trades, keeps on promoting and marketing their products even to youth, especially using social media platforms. Addictions are detrimental for individual’s mental well being and generate a diverse range of negative consequences to their physical and social well being too. They also hinder community measures to protect themselves from COVID-19 as it was evident during the past few months in Sri Lanka and globally. Therefore, it’s important to be vigilant of our loved ones, in order to keep them safe, and keep our distance from, not only one another, but also from vicious strategies of tobacco alcohol and other illicit drug industries and protect our communities from them.

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