World Health Day

April 07, 2022

Cynthia Germanotta is president and co-founder of Born This Way Foundation (BTWF), created with her daughter Lady Gaga. Born This Way Foundation supports the mental health and wellness of young people, empowering them to build a kinder, braver world. Cynthia is also a World Health Organization (WHO) Ambassador for Mental Health.

This story took place in United States

April 7 is World Health Day and an important reminder that mental health is health.

In these challenging times faced with overlapping and ongoing crises on a local, national, and global scale, supporting our mental health and physical health is imperative. The two work in concert, our physical wellbeing plays a vital role in our mental wellbeing and vice versa. 

At Born This Way Foundation, we aim to empower communities to understand, prioritize, and foster mental wellness. We want to make sure every young person – and everyone, everywhere – knows: your health and wellbeing matter because you matter. According to our research, most young people say experiencing kindness boosts their mental wellness — whether it is receiving it from others (73%), witnessing it in the world (71%), or even just being kinder to themselves (74%). Taking care of our own mental and physical health is an act of kindness and self care, and one of the bravest things you can do is ask for support. 

Born This Way Foundations strives to promote accessible, high-quality resources to help people care for themselves and others. Resources are available on our website, including a list of self-care tips created in partnership with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing and the National Association of School Psychologists. 

Furthermore, supporting our own health better equips us to support others around us. Born This Way Foundation and recently launched the Be There Certificate, a free, self-paced, interactive online mental health course designed to increase mental  health literacy and provide youth with the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to safely support their peers who may be struggling with their mental health. 

While we encourage people to utilize the resources that are available, we acknowledge there are still very real barriers to quality mental health care. That is why expanding access to all health services is necessary in the pursuit of making the world a healthier, safer, and kinder place. World Health Day – which marks the anniversary of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) founding – is a global opportunity to focus attention on public health across the board. 

As a global WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Mental Health, I am honored to celebrate the anniversary of WHO’s founding and proud of the organization’s commitment to the mental health space and acknowledgement that there is no health without mental health. 

We envision a world where mental health care is accessible for all, especially in countries where there are even larger stigmas disparities in access to mental health care. WHO plays an immensely important role in the effort to ensure all people achieve the highest level of quality health care, which includes mental health care.

As we reflect on the progress made this World Health Day, we will continue to focus on eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health and prioritizing kindness toward ourselves and others.

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