#WorldHealthDay & Why #MentalHealthMatters

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Of all health awareness issues and causes, mental health remains an under-represented topic.

World Health Day is more than an opportunity to complain about our rising health insurance premiums. Health coverage differs all around the world, and of course, the U.S. doesn’t rank as one of the best. This includes the lack of mental health services.

The Best Place In The World To Live With Mental Illness

According to a Psychology Today article, World’s Best and Worst Places To Be Mentally Ill[1] Trieste, Italy is where you need to live to access mental health services. This is partly due to Italian culture promoting family, and mental health is a top priority. Trieste offers four major mental health community centers that each service roughly 60,000 citizens.

They offer an open door, restraint-free facility that welcomes family and friends. The design is appealing with nice furniture, an aesthetically pleasing living environment, and a plethora of exercise and group activities. This 24-hour facility offers around the clock support. There is no shaming those who suffer from a mental illness in Trieste. Instead, there are plenty of rehabilitation opportunities and even assistance for the financially disadvantaged. This especially helps patients struggling with drug and alcohol abuse.

Clinics in Trieste offer customized assistance plans because not one treatment fits all. The tailored approach extends to home visits so health professionals can get a better understanding of a patient’s environment and family. Additionally, therapy stresses the importance of social engagements, building positive support systems, and creating job opportunities through work placement.

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The U.S. Needs To Improve Its Mental Health Care

On the contrary, many mentally ill people within the United States are homeless, friendless, and left to suffer alone. We cringe as we hear them talking to themselves or implore them to simply “get a job” and “snap out of it” In fact, mental illness and homelessness are connected, as 30 percent of homeless individuals nationwide suffer from a serious mental health issue. Meanwhile, 60 to 70 percent of homeless individuals with a mental illness also have a drug or alcohol problem.

Rather than take advantage of rehabilitation centers for their substance abuse, they are turned out in the streets and live life as homeless. Good mental health is more than telling someone to “think positive” or “get some exercise” or “you’re probably just tired” or “go to church” or “it can’t be that bad.” The worst of these lines is “God’s not going to give you what you can’t handle,” that one is the real kicker. Try feeding that line to a whopping 50 percent of individuals who committed suicide as a result of major depression. In 2016 alone, 44,965 individuals took their own life.

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‘Depressed’ Is Not A Word To Be Used Casually

Depression itself is a condition that is often overlooked because it’s a word that people throw around too casually. “I’m depressed” or “What a depressing day” or “That song is so depressing.” Sometimes depression is a lifelong struggle, and other times it is ignited by situational circumstances. Regardless, happiness is not a light switch. Sometimes people are able to “turn it on and off,” but I call them actors. It’s not a coincidence, I believe, that many Hollywood professionals and creative people suffer mental health issues. But most of us are not in front of a camera or on a theater stage. We aren’t capable or trained to turn our emotions on and off or to turn our “frown upside down.”

But those of us who have been clinically diagnosed with major depression understand that, like the word “love,” “depressed” should not be thrown around lightly. It’s not like someone spilled your coffee or snagged your parking space. Those who truly battle with the disorder understand that the phrase “I’m depressed” is not a casual phrase to be overused. Because of the overuse of the word, many family and friends underestimate the impact depression has on a loved one’s everyday life.

It’s important to not take our mental health lightly. If you are clinically depressed or suffer from a mental health issue, get help. Even if your insurance is lacking. Call your health care provider or go to the emergency room.

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Where in the World to Find the Best Health Care

Here are the top 10 countries that offer the best health benefits[2]. The United States is unfortunately not on the list.

  1. Denmark
  2. Sweden
  3. Canada
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Germany
  6. Netherlands
  7. Australia
  8. France
  9. Austria
  10. New Zealand

The Bottom Line:

Even if you have decent health insurance, it’s not always easy getting the proper care you need. Trust me. I’ve encountered a shortage of therapists at Kaiser Permanente, which touts online how important mental health is to its members but has drawn the ire of regulators in California. I, too, encountered long waits to even get an initial meeting with a caseworker, which was necessary for a referral to a psychiatric professional.

Kaiser finally allowed me to go outside of the network, but I still had to select an approved provider, which caused further delays. The fact that the process was so bureaucratic was the biggest hurdle. And I was one of the lucky ones. Far too many people who need help and are actively seeking it, instead, grow discouraged as they wait weeks and even months to book an appointment through their insurance provider. And we wonder why so many people self-medicate?

Whether or not you’re currently receiving the care you need, and regardless if you are unable to move to a different country for better mental health services, the most important thing to do is never give up. Never give up on your ambitions to live a healthy, productive, and joy-filled life. You can conquer or at least manage depression and other related mental health issues.

Chris Cornell

For more on World Health Day, please visit these contributing bloggers on the subject:

NOTE: Links will be udated as they are published!

Mylene Orillo: The Truth About Getting Sick in the Philippines

Ipuna Black: Health is a State of Balance: Mind, Body, Spirit

Barb Caffrey: We Must Do Better and Insist on Better Health Care (A Collaboration with a Purpose Post)

Jothish Joseph: Are You Healthy?

Sadaf Siddiqi: Health is Wealth

Tajwar Fatma: World Health Day

Sonyo Estavillo: #WorldHealthDay & Why #MentalHealthMatters

Jane Love: Vital Components of a Healthy and Balanced Life

Nicolle K.: Alert: A Collaboration to Everyone’s Health!

Divyang Shah: World Health Day!

Gelyka Ruth Dumaraos: How My Father’s Health Condition Made Me Shift To A Healthier Lifestyle

Swati Kadam:

[1] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/saving-normal/201512/worlds-best-and-worst-places-be-mentally-ill

[2] https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/overall-full-list



27 thoughts on “#WorldHealthDay & Why #MentalHealthMatters

    […] About Getting Sick in the Philippines Nicolle K.: Sadaf Siddiqi: Health is Wealth Sonyo Estavillo: “#WorldHealthDay & Why #MentalHealthMatters” Swati Kadam: Tajwar Fatma: World Health […]


    @vapor_sage said:
    April 7, 2018 at 8:28 AM

    It really seems that “healthcare” providers would be perfectly fine without you, they’re in business to make money which became the priority when the HMO system was put into place, initiating the third party payer programs that come between the patient and the providers. More government will only make this worse.
    We need more choices, not a one size fits all where everybody pays for everybody else
    People who need the assistance should be provided for and determining need is complicated.

    My sister took her own life as a result of not being able to get a script for her BPD and PTSD
    The system failed her
    People need to understand that if the government is paying, that it is not free, The money comes from productive people paying for their own as well as other’s services
    we need choices and more authentic contact with healers, not paper pushers paid to save the Big company’s money

    Liked by 3 people

      Sonyo Estavillo said:
      April 7, 2018 at 8:40 AM

      @vape_sage I am so sorry to hear about your sister. It’s such a tragedy and I can only imagine the pain. It’s a huge loss and it’s hard to see all the warning signs sometimes. But, it’s hard when the system we have in place isn’t really mental health friendly. The stigma is another issue.

      While the top healthcare in the world are more along the lines of socialism and or big government, I do agree with you that it’s not the solution. I also agree that we need more choices available. If you have Kaiser, it’s a real nightmare you can only choose between their doctors and the wait is lengthy.

      Again, it’s terrible to hear about your sister. It’s a huge, huge loss and one that will probably never quite heal. My heart goes out to your family. As someone who’s battled a lifetime of depression, I understand the struggle and the fine line that can get crossed. Thank you for reading and sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

        @vapor_sage said:
        April 7, 2018 at 8:47 AM

        My sister had Kaiser this was back in 03
        We’re not meant to do it alone
        Many sufferers need medication but there is great relief in finding alternatives and options outside of the system support groups and communities will save everybody time and money
        I am a avid supporter of raising awareness related to these issues
        I’ll do what I can and support your effort

        Liked by 1 person

        Sonyo Estavillo said:
        April 7, 2018 at 10:18 AM

        Wow, your sister had Kaiser also! Ugh. They’re not good at all when it comes to mental health coverage. I think they’re the worst. I’ve had to find support groups via meditating & a Buddhist group that has sort of helped a lot. But I had to go totally outside of Kaiser & the healthcare route for organic coping tools. It’s much harder for someone who relies on medication or needs regular visits. I haven’t gone back to Kaiser because I received more help outside of using them. Like you said community support groups & etc.

        Liked by 1 person

    YellowCable said:
    April 7, 2018 at 8:41 AM

    Very good post. It is disappointing that US is not even on that list among the developed countries.

    Liked by 3 people

      Sonyo Estavillo said:
      April 7, 2018 at 10:22 AM

      Our healthcare has gotten a little better but still doesn’t compare to other countries. I think one of the factors for making that list is maternity & paternity leave. Europe is not perfect, but they have maternity & paternity leave down. They even cover IVF and fertility treatments, I heard!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    Are you healthy? – TheJothishJosephBlog said:
    April 7, 2018 at 11:45 AM

    […] Sonyo Estavillo […]


    […] Sonyo Estavillo — “#WorldHealthDay & Why #MentalHealthMatters“ […]

    Liked by 1 person

    Barb Caffrey said:
    April 7, 2018 at 7:10 PM

    Sonyo, I applaud you for talking honestly about mental health. We have to do better with this, because it is hard to see therapists, it is hard to get prescriptions and it is also hard for some to even admit they have a problem because they don’t want the stigma…if you are of an older generation (at least one ahead of me, maybe two), they thought that depression — true, systemic depression, not a momentary down mood — meant you were lazy or shiftless or didn’t care or otherwise were a bad person. So of course they’d not admit to it.

    We know that’s not true, in 2018. We know that mental health has many factors, including our physical health, our genetics, our environment, and more than I can possibly list. But laziness, shiftlessness, being uncaring or just being a bad person is not part of it at all.

    That the lady’s sister above lost her fight with mental illness because she could not get the proper meds is horrifying.

    That we don’t seem to understand in the United States that all people deserve to be treated with respect and care and dignity, and be helped to get their medicines when needed, and helped to get the appointments required and access to the medical professionals that can do some good, is a crying shame.

    I don’t know what the answers are, but the lady above pointed out the needless paperwork and the unnecessary bureaucracy that stifles doctors and other medical professionals from actually doing their work of helping patients. I do think that is a factor and it needs to be addressed.

    My hope is that people will realize that depression is a real illness, that it causes real and lasting problems, and that it has to be properly treated so someone can manage the symptoms and know that he or she is not crazy…instead, they have a chemical imbalance, or something else going on, and it can be improved with time, patience, and proper medical care.

    Excellent post, Sonyo.

    Liked by 3 people

    Sonyo Estavillo said:
    April 7, 2018 at 8:30 PM


    It is a shame. Sometimes medications aren’t even covered, the specific one you need anyway. When this happens, they’ll shift you on another medication that they cover. This is despite the fact that the other medication was working. Sometimes it’s due to certain psychotropic medications being so expensive that insurance companies won’t cover it or prescribe it even if it works really well.

    All insurance whether private or Medicare or Obamacare should not take mental health so flippantly. Yet, they do and they take their time with scheduling an appointment. They make you take long surveys every single time to “gauge” where you are at and then you have to see a caseworker to get referred to someone else. It’s never ending cycles of paperwork, surveys, phone calls, referrals, more waiting and this can go on like this for MONTHS! It’s as though they can’t tangibly understand that there is a real human life at stake. It’s like we’re just intangible beings, out of site out of mind. I wish there was a better solution too. More needs to be done. Much more.

    Thanks for reading & commenting. ❤


    Author: Sadaf Siddiqi said:
    April 8, 2018 at 12:07 AM

    Mental health is undoubtedly an important dimension of health. And it’s really shocking to know that in 2016 alone, 44,965 individuals took their own life, U.S. must do something, it is high time now. U.S. should invest more on healthcare than on technology. The citizens of Denmark, Sweden, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, France, Austria, New Zealand are all so lucky for having such good health services at hand. Hopefully things will get better at your end, take good care Soniyo.

    Liked by 2 people

      Sonyo Estavillo said:
      April 13, 2018 at 10:09 PM

      The statistics are daunting and while most of us don’t have the luxury to move to another country. We are forced to make due with what we have. The U.S. health care system is best suited for the perfectly healthy who have no long-term mental or physical conditions that require costly treatment. But most of us need more than just wellness checkups.

      Liked by 1 person

        Author: Sadaf Siddiqi said:
        April 14, 2018 at 4:39 AM

        In that case you must take even more good care.


    Ipuna Black said:
    April 8, 2018 at 12:38 AM

    One thing I’ve learned with insurances is that they struggle to pay for anything that seems invisible. People with a mental illness “look normal” on the outside. Jy has had several problems with his brain, but he “looks normal on the outside.” Therefore, you have to work twice as hard to prove you need treatment. It’s not like a broken arm that needs a cast. The wait to get into providers is crazy too. I hope things get better with healthcare.

    Liked by 2 people

      Sonyo Estavillo said:
      April 13, 2018 at 10:06 PM

      It’s so true, anything that affects the brain isn’t always externally seen. That’s what is so hard about mental health and taking it seriously.

      Liked by 1 person

    […] Sonyo Estavillo:#WorldHealthDay & Why #MentalHealthMatters […]

    Liked by 1 person

    Jothish Joseph said:
    April 8, 2018 at 8:37 PM

    The story of Trieste is really amazing. Great to know that at least somewhere in the world there is proper and committed treatment for mental illness. Like you said, good mental health is not only about positive thinking, it’s a lot more. People with depression need a lot more than just counselling, it’s not that easy and straightforward.
    And yes, happiness is certainly not a switch!
    Have a wonderful day.

    Liked by 2 people

      Sonyo Estavillo said:
      April 13, 2018 at 10:21 PM

      I also ❤️d learning about Trieste, Italy and wished we had a system more in place like that in the U.S. I had no idea until after I did the research.


        Jothish Joseph said:
        April 14, 2018 at 12:24 AM

        I wish we had that too. Anyways it’s always great to learn about such inspiring places. Have a wonderful day!


    […] Sonyo Estavillo: #WorldHealthDay & Why Mental Health Matters […]

    Liked by 1 person

    Mylene Orillo said:
    April 8, 2018 at 9:47 PM

    I’m really impressed with how you write and presented the facts. Thank you for this very informative and eye-opening post on health, especially on Mental Health. It’s nice to know the list of countries that offer best health benefits, but if you would notice, they are First World countries and some of which are also the best countries to live in. Such a great post!

    Liked by 2 people

      Sonyo Estavillo said:
      April 13, 2018 at 10:29 PM

      I can’t move to a different country for their health benefits. But, appreciate how we rank compared to the rest of the world. It helps us to stay sharp and realize we have to do better and do more.

      Liked by 1 person

    Jainey said:
    April 9, 2018 at 10:54 AM

    I applaud you for such a post that speaks on such a crucial subject in our world today. That 2016 statistic came as a huge shocker to me. Insightful and powerful (with the story). Great post

    Liked by 2 people

      Sonyo Estavillo said:
      April 13, 2018 at 10:27 PM

      Mental health matters and is a subject often overlooked until something like a tragedy unfolds. We can’t until something devastating to occur in order to pay better attention to mental health.

      Liked by 1 person

    […] Sonyo Estavillo @ ‘Lil Pick Me Up: #WorldHealthDay & Why #MentalHealthMatters […]

    Liked by 2 people

    Nicolle said:
    April 21, 2018 at 10:27 PM

    Gosh, I’d better make arrangements to move to one of those top 10 countries right away! 😆

    On a more serious note, it’s sad that mental illnesses aren’t taken seriously in many parts of the world (including mine), and I agree depression isn’t a word to be used casually. I once had depression almost to the point of suicide, but sadly my own parents didn’t believe in it and my mother tried to “reason” my feelings and thoughts away. 🙁

    Thanks for writing this post, Sonyo! I believe change starts with awareness, and this post may very well be the small ripple that eventually resonates across the world. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

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