Thoughts on World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day October 10, 2023
The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is “mental health is a universal human right.” The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as “a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well and contribute to their community.” Among these stresses, we can count moral injury.
In recognition of this day, and as they have for the past several years, Prince William and Princess Kate have talked with young adults about mental health. Meeting with 100 youth representatives, they stressed the importance of developing resilience and protective factors like personal relationships to better navigate bumps in the road of life. Prince William has previously spoken about his trauma experienced as an air ambulance pilot, saying that you tend to keep “bits of your job” in your body where they lead to depression if not dealt with.
Morally injured servicewomen can identify with William’s statement because the psychological wounds suffered during military service can lead to depression, anxiety, marital discord, self-harm, and a general downward spiral in one’s life. Misogyny and military sexual trauma have negatively impacted the lives of thousands of servicewomen. Desiring to enhance the lives of female veterans through research, education, and training, MISNS works to empower women and their families by providing emotional and spiritual support.
A devastating new instance of moral injury has occurred with the attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians, including babies, last week. Geopolitical situations worldwide are crying out for servant leaders with positive ethical and moral values. As long as institutions and governments are corrupt, individuals will experience poor mental health. The challenge and call to arms is for chaplains, counselors, mental health practitioners, and all who love justice to work for and advocate for wholeness among all people.