Mental Health for Everyone – a PeerJ Collection for Mental Health Day 2021

As our contribution to Mental Health Day 2021, staff editor Adya Misra has curated a PeerJ Collection of recently published research that focuses on mental wellbeing within at-risk populations.


Efforts to improve the awareness of mental health and the promotion of mental wellbeing have been growing in the past decade, and have taken center stage during the past twenty months. It has become clear that certain populations are more vulnerable to mental ill-health, and that these same populations also struggle to receive the support and care needed to aid their wellbeing. New mothers, parents of children with chronic illness, and older people who become isolated, are just a few examples of populations that are truly vulnerable to developing poor mental health.

Global disparities in healthcare become more apparent when discussing mental healthcare services, as a majority of populations in lower-middle income countries do not have access to specialist services for mental health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the list of vulnerable groups expanded and many more people have suffered poor mental health; from frontline workers to university students, to those living alone and those with pre-existing mental health conditions – growing numbers of people have needed additional support and healthcare services.

To highlight this issue on a global scale, the World Mental Health Federation (WMHF) announced the theme of this year’s Mental Health Day as “Mental Health in an Unequal World“. In many parts of the world people suffering from mental health conditions still suffer from discrimination and stigma, often exacerbating the inequalities they already face in seeking educational, economic or social opportunities. With this year’s campaign, WMHF aims to highlight these inequalities and encourage everyone to help remove disparities in mental healthcare.

PeerJ supports these efforts by highlighting recent key publications that focus on the mental wellbeing within populations at risk and bringing to light research from around the world on this topic.

Articles included in the collection include research into the relationships between trauma and eating disorders, maternal depressive symptoms and early childhood development, physical activity and mental health, and an examination of structural and functional changes in the brains of patients with major depressive disorder. The collection also includes a number of articles examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and well-being.

PeerJ welcomes submissions of research into mental health and well-being. You can find more PeerJ-published research on this topic in the Brain, Cognition and Mental Health Section of PeerJ Life & Environment.

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