World Psoriasis Day is a global event that aims to raise awareness about psoriasis and help support people living with the condition. The International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA) hosts World Psoriasis Day on October 29.
Globally, more than 50 countries observe World Psoriasis Day.
This article explains why World Psoriasis Day is important. It also offers tips on how to get involved.
Psoriasis is a condition in which the body produces skin cells too quickly, causing the cells to accumulate in scaly patches, or “plaques,” on the skin.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), psoriasis affects more than 3 in 100 adults in the United States.
Medical experts do not know the exact cause of psoriasis, though they do know that the disease is not contagious. Scientists have learned that the condition likely involves an interplay between the following factors:
- immune system overactivity
- triggers, such as stress, the weather, and injuries to the skin
Below are some of the reasons World Psoriasis Day is so important.
It spreads accurate information about psoriasis
There are numerous myths surrounding psoriasis, such as the notion that people living with the disease are “unclean” or that the disease itself is contagious.
Events such as World Psoriasis Day can spread accurate information about psoriasis. This can help break misconceptions and stigmas surrounding the condition.
It raises awareness about psoriasis and mental health
People living with psoriasis must contend with itchy and often painful skin lesions. When psoriasis symptoms become visible or interfere with everyday activities, they can also cause psychological problems. Examples include:
- reduced self-esteem
- social withdrawal
- feelings of hopelessness or anger
- depression and suicidal thoughts
- difficulty sleeping
According to the IFPA, around 1 in 4 people living with psoriasis show signs of depression, and almost 1 in 2 have an anxiety disorder.
The IFPA notes that mental health issues can be symptoms of widespread inflammation as well as a consequence of the difficulties of living with the disease.
According to the IFPA, one of the aims of World Psoriasis Day is to raise awareness of the mental health issues that can affect people living with psoriasis. Sharing stories about what it is like to live with psoriasis can help to normalize people’s experiences, making them feel less isolated.
It raises awareness about psoriasis comorbidities
Many people view psoriasis solely as a skin condition, but it is an inflammatory disease that can have widespread effects on health and wellbeing.
One of the goals of World Psoriasis Day is to educate people about the broader impact psoriasis can have on a person’s health. For example, people with psoriasis are at increased risk of the following conditions:
- cardiovascular disease
- type 2 diabetes
- mental health issues
In addition, around 1 in 3 people with psoriasis will go on to develop an inflammatory form of arthritis known as psoriatic arthritis. Symptoms may develop slowly or rapidly and can be mild to severe.
It raises funds
Psoriasis is typically a lifelong condition for which there is currently no cure. World Psoriasis Day aims to raise funds to support ongoing research into psoriasis treatments that can help manage the disease and improve quality of life.
Funds also help to support people and families living with psoriasis. People with this disease may face financial struggles due to ongoing treatment costs, which can be expensive, and insurance providers do not always cover them.
People with psoriasis are also more likely to have comorbidities that increase their healthcare costs.
Below are some tips on how people can get involved with World Psoriasis Day.
In 2020, the NPF awarded $3.28 million dollars to help fund research grants and fellowships focused on psoriasis research.
Some ways that people can help raise funds for psoriasis research on World Psoriasis Day include:
- holding a raffle
- holding a silent auction
- participating in a sponsored activity, such as a walk, run, or swim
- going door to door asking for donations
Making a donation
One way to recognize World Psoriasis Day is to donate funds to reputable charities, such as the NPF.
Click here to donate directly to the NPF, and consider making your gift a recurring donation.
People who work for a company should also be aware that some companies will match or even exceed their employees’ donations.
A person who is interested in making a larger gift can consider donating appreciated stocks or making a charitable gift from a personal IRA.
Volunteering can be a good option for people who do not have the extra funds to donate to a psoriasis charity or who want to go the extra mile to support World Psoriasis Day.
Potential volunteering opportunities include:
- volunteering at events
- becoming a social media volunteer
- becoming a youth ambassador
- peer mentoring
People who are interested in volunteering can submit a volunteer interest form to the NPF. They will then receive advice on the type of volunteer work that best suits their individual skills and interests.
People can check with local psoriasis charities to see if they are hosting any events.
The NPF curates a list of local and national events here.
Reading or listening to personal accounts
Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about psoriasis. It can also be difficult for people who do not have psoriasis to understand the daily challenges and stigmas facing those who live with the disease.
People can read or listen to stories from people living with psoriasis, or share their own with the NPF or the IFPA.
Taking advantage of social media
A person living with psoriasis can take to social media to share their personal experiences of living with the disease. Doing so can help to spread education and awareness about psoriasis and can help others living with the disease to feel less alienated.
People can draw more attention to tweets, posts, or stories by using the following hashtags:
People can share information about psoriasis by making their own posters or educational pamphlets and leaving them in public places, such as:
- their place of work
- recreational centers
- community billboards
The IFPA has a generator that can help people make their own posters.
People who feel they are knowledgeable about psoriasis issues can also offer to hold meetings in their workplace or other public venues, with permission.
Joining clinical trials
One way to support psoriasis research is to join a clinical trial. These research efforts help provide insights into the following:
- what causes psoriasis
- new treatments for psoriasis
- ways to improve the lives of people living with psoriasis
Click here for a full list of National Institutes of Health (NIH)-led clinical trials.
World Psoriasis Day is a day for spreading awareness about psoriasis and helping raise funds to support research and ongoing care for people living with the disease.
There are plenty of ways to get involved with World Psoriasis Day. Examples include donating, fundraising, attending events, sharing educational materials, and taking the time to learn about others’ personal experiences of the disease.
To learn more about how to support or recognize World Psoriasis Day, people can check with the local charity chapters of national or international charities such as the NPF, IFPA, or the International Psoriasis Council.