20th annual World Mental Health day celebrated in Herat

On October 10th, Herat recognized World Mental Health Day with a celebration that included 300 guests.

The festivities were arranged by the Directorates of Health, Labour and Social Affairs, Education and Pilgrimage, with technical help provided by IAM's Community Mental Health Project.

The aim of World Mental Health Day is to raise general awareness of mental health problems, to promote open discussion about mental health issues and to increase efforts in the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders. This year, the topic of focus for World Mental Health Day was depression. Depression is the second leading cause of disability worldwide. Globally, at least 120,000 million people suffer from depression. In Afghanistan, that number is estimated to be in the millions. 

In Herat, the program included greetings and speeches by representatives of the Directorates of Health, Labour and Social Affairs, Education and Pilgrimage as well as by IAM staff. A local theater group performed a drama depicting the importance of family relationships and counseling in the treatment of patients suffering from depression. In addition, hundreds of Healthy Community materials—magazines and pamphlets produced by IAM's Community Mental Health Project—were distributed to participants. 

During the following week, the Community Mental Health Project provided resources about mental health for thirty public schools and twenty mosque schools in Herat city. A separate program was arranged for teachers and students discussing information about mental health issues. Additionally, radio and TV programmes were broadcasted locally to increase general awareness about mental health problems, their prevention and treatment.