By David Saadat, MD


October 10th is designated as World Mental Health Day, which falls right in the middle of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As a plastic surgeon both topics interest me. I believe anything that causes stress can lead to emotional as well as physical disease.

Dis-ease is the primary focus. Discomfort, disease, whatever contributes to this uncomfortable state of being deserves to be addressed and relieved. We are living in a time of unprecedented stress. The digital age makes information available 24-7 and much of that information is disturbing. So many people today are living in a state of sustained stress.

We see the mental disturbance affecting our children as they are ending their lives in record numbers due to the increased stresses of contemporary life. I would opt for an entire month devoted to the deeper understanding and awareness of mental health issues.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 800,000 people take their lives each year. They also report that half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14 and three-quarters by mid-20s. And, that suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds.

Clearly one day is not giving this epidemic the time it deserves. How can we as a society, and as individuals contribute to the lessening of this dis-eased condition? It is a question without a quick or easy answer.

I consider it a great privilege to help people bring greater peace and comfort to their lives through the practice of plastic surgery.  Whether it is correcting a deviated septum that relieves snoring so they and or their partner can get a good night’s sleep or giving someone a nose that will add to their confidence. Whatever contributes to diminishing stress in our stressful world can only be a step in the right direction.

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