October is hours away, and two significant health related days are part of the calendar, Child Health Day and World Mental Health Day.
Child Health Day
To begin Child Health Day is annually celebrated in the U.S. on the first Monday of October. The day began as a presidential proclamation issued by President Coolidge in 1928. Initially it was observed in May until 1960, Child Health Day places a spotlight on health issues that children face. Organizations such as Human Resource and Service Administration (HRSA) present information meant to increase awareness to the public. This year’s focus is on reducing infant mortality.
According to the HRSA infant mortality in the U.S. is at an all time low with (6.4 deaths for every 1,000 live births) as of 2009. Nevertheless, The U.S. infant mortality rate ranks near the bottom among industrialized nations. Moreover, there are persistent disparities that affect racial and ethnic minorities as well as geographic areas. Currently, The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), and HRSA, is collaborating with teams from 13 southern states, and other private and public partners to support efforts to reduce infant mortality in the region. The aim of the partnership is to share best practices and lessons learned while focusing on improvements in five common priority areas: 1) Reducing elective deliveries before 39 weeks (as they are associated with newborn health complications) 2) Increase safe sleep practices( babies sleep safest when placed on their backs) 3) Enhance perinatal regionalization reduction ( having specialized neonatal units available to deliver babies who requires specialized care) 4) Increase smoking cessation among pregnant women (babies born to smokers have a lower average birth weight and more health complications) and 5) Expand access to interconception care.
October 10th is world mental health day.
World Mental Health Day raises public awareness about mental health issues. The day promotes open discussion of mental disorders, prevention, and available treatment services. World Mental Health Day was established in 1992 thanks to the work of Richard (Dick) Hunter, the Deputy Secretary General of the World Federation for Mental Health. This year the theme for the day is “Depression: A Global Crisis”.
According to the World Federation for Mental Health organization, depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages worldwide. Although there are known effective treatments for depression, access to treatment is a problem in most countries and in some countries fewer than 10% of those who need it receive such treatment.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide in terms of total years lost due to disability. According to the World Health Organization depression is a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, decreased energy, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, and poor concentration. Moreover, depression often comes with symptoms of anxiety. These problems can become chronic or recurrent and lead to substantial impairments in an individual’s ability to take care of his or her everyday responsibilities. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide.