World Mental Health Day

Even LAX is lit up purple on World Mental Health Day. Flickr / Amanda Todd Legacy

World Mental Health Day is observed each year on October 10th in more than 100 countries. Initiated by the World Federation for Mental Health and supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), this day is a chance for discussion and investment regarding prevention and treatment of mental health. On this day, public service announcements are run, lectures are held, and awards are given in recognition of individuals and organizations for their efforts toward mental health awareness.

1. A Different Theme is Chosen Each Year

Every year on World Mental Health Day, a different theme is chosen and is the focus of the activities described above. For example, the 2012, 2013, and 2014 themes were respectively: "Depression: A Global Crisis," "Mental Health and Older Adults," and "Living with Schizophrenia." The 2015 theme is planned as "Dignity in Mental Health," to address issues pertaining to maintaining dignity among those with mental illness.

2. Blog Parties Are Hosted to Commemorate the Day

What's a blog party? It sounds kind of like a block party, but not quite. A blog party, or blog carnival, is when bloggers from across the blog universe unite to blog about a central theme, which are then collated into a set of links at one location so that readers can easily find them. Psych Central hosts a blog party for World Mental Health Day each year. You can check out previous parties and plan to visit upcoming ones to read what bloggers around the world have to say about mental health on this day.

3. The First World Mental Health Day Was Hosted October 10th, 1992

World Mental Health Day was first celebrated in 1992 after planning by Richard Hunter, Deputy Secretary General of the World Federation for Mental Health. The World Health Organization agreed to become a co-sponsor of the initiative. In addition, former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter agreed to become an honorary chair for the event.

The initial goal of World Mental Health Day was to raise awareness of mental health issues across different segments of society. The long-term goal was to create equality between support and services for mental and physical health.

4. Green Ribbons Are Worn in Support of World Mental Health Day

For those who wish to show their support for World Mental Health Day, green ribbons are worn. The green ribbon symbolizes mental health awareness and support, and those who wear the ribbon identify themselves as interested in supporting mental health awareness. In Ireland, the Green Ribbon Campaign hands out over 500,000 free green ribbons each year to stimulate conversations about mental health issues.

5. In Canada, Landmarks Including the CN Tower and Niagara Falls are Lit Purple on World Mental Health Day

Spearheaded by Canadian Carol Todd in memory of her daughter Amanda Todd, who took her own life after relentless harassment and bullying, a movement has been started for major landmarks to be lit up purple on World Mental Health Day.

These landmarks include such cornerstones as the CN Tower and Niagara Falls. The Amanda Todd Legacy Society offers photos of these stunning light displays on their Flickr page.

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