The World Health Organization has announced October 10 as World Mental Health Day to raise public awareness about mental health issues. Beginning in 2009, the global awareness campaign jointly sponsored by the World Health Organization and the World Federation for Mental Health is intended to increase awareness of available mental health resources for consumers, families, and advocacy groups. A major theme of the campaign is to spread the message that mental health is an integral part of good health and should be incorporated into health care programs in countries around the world. There needs to be a greater recognition of
the treatment gap for psychological, neurological, and substance abuse programs, especially in the developing world. According to some sources, of the estimated 450 million people worldwide with mental health disorders, less than half have access to the help they need. Even in developed countries where such treatment is available, mental health services are often assigned a lower priority than other medical treatment programs with little connection to total health care. Poor mental health is often associated with stressful work conditions or unemployment, gender discrimination, risk of violence and human rights abuses, and physical ill-health. The increase in political and economic refugees also leads to increased risk of mental health problems.
As part of the World Mental Health Day initiative, the World Health Organization is releasing its Mental Health Gap Intervention Guide on October 7 as well as marking the beginning of the Gap Program's implementation phase. The WHO has announced that providing better psychosocial support and medical treatment will allow millions to live more productive lives.