The Duchess of Cambridge took time to highlight the widespread and often invisible plight of millions who suffer from mental health diseases and problems Monday. Kate Middleton, alongside her husband, Prince William, took a ride on the London Eye — a giant Ferris wheel — with people who are battling psychological problems to highlight the importance of awareness for those issues on World Mental Health Day.
Mental health issues account for around 13 percent of the global disease burden, according to the International Medical Corps, a humanitarian non-profit established by volunteer doctors and nurses. Being a star athlete, comedian or beloved children’s book series author does not spare you: The burden is shared among the likes of well-loved celebrities including David Beckham, J.K. Rowling, Megan Fox and Jim Carrey.
World Mental Health Day, held Oct. 10 every year, seeks to start conversations and education around the conditions and experiences of the roughly 450 million people who battle mental health issues world-wide. The World Health Organization has been promoting the day of awareness since at least 2013, when it started posting information about the events on their website.
As a part of the drive, the WHO urges people to learn the “basic principles of psychological first aid” to “help you provide support to people who are very distressed, and, importantly, to know what not to say.” It wants people to promote widespread awareness of and caring for people suffering from acute distress following a crisis with a range of approaches including health, mental health and social services.
There is no shortage of crises in the 21st century. Survivors of crises can be found worldwide. However, as a deeply tumultuous Middle East continues to see widespread evacuation by refugees, communities are advised to ensure they are accounting for and caring for mental health issues that arise from those conditions, including symptoms from anxiety, substance use or abuse and impaired social functioning, according to the WHO.