Mental health deserves global attention. Did you know that approximately one in four adults will experience a diagnosable mental illness during their lifetime?
What’s more, mental health disorders don’t discriminate. Your race, religion, ethnicity, age and economic status don’t matter. And battling mental illness can be a long and hard road to walk alone. Facing it with no support can feel like an insurmountable obstacle and yet, according to recent findings, most people struggling with poor mental health are trying to manage their situation alone and silently.
After all, when your life is steeped in unaccounted for feelings of sadness, anxiety or hopelessness and the like, the last thing you should have to simultaneously suffer is shame. This stigma attached to mental health problems prevents most sufferers from speaking up as they fear rejection and being perceived as different.
Various initiatives are driving global awareness of mental health. These programmes are helping to lift the stigma associated with mental illness. But the line between stigma and full-blown discrimination is ever-so fine. Discriminatory words are often what stops people from reaching out for care and treatment. Many sufferers are deprived of access to full participation in life because of their fear and so rather keep quiet.
The global statistics regarding the impact of poor mental health are truly harrowing. Website Mental Health, lists the following shocking facts on how mental health problems affect people the world over.
Of course, governments and major players such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) are in constant deliberations addressing the mental health concerns of different countries. Poor mental health is considered a developmental issue within the international community. And so, at a global level this issue is being addressed and avenues of recourse are planned and rolled out. But the positive effect won’t be felt immediately. So, communities must take it upon themselves to provide the right support to those who need it the most.
Together with a few charities, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have created a campaign called Heads Together. This campaign is specifically aimed at creating positive conversations about mental health issues and hopes to break the silence and the shame felt by sufferers around the nation. Armed with data, research and insights into how the UK is currently tackling mental health, this campaign is driving practical solutions to people having helpful and intelligent conversations.
Here are four other mental health initiatives around the world that are making remarkable changes to the global conversation around mental health and wellness.
According to WHO 7.5 percent of India’s population suffer from mental health illness. The Live Love Laugh Foundation was formed by Deepika Padukone. Padukone is a famous actress in India and she created this foundation as a platform where those suffering mental illness can connect with professionals and gain more knowledge about their illness and how to combat it. The website has been created as a portal of information and offers a directory of professional services. It’s a knowledge-sharing space with a collection of informative blogs that tackle hard-hitting issues and inform you of who to contact in a moment of need.
In 2010 no one in Canada was talking about mental health. But the alarming statistics indicating many Canadians required mental health help couldn’t be ignored any longer. Bell Let’s Talk started the much-needed conversation around Canada’s mental health and millions of people started speaking up, including local celebrities. Bell managed to secure new funding for access to mental health care and to continue researching new ways to assist the countries’ population. This organisation has a mandate to promote mental health awareness and is armed with a robust strategy that underpins anti-stigma campaigns, drives access to care, supports workplace health and subsidises research activities.
This organisation is based in the UK but its primary focus is to end mental health discrimination. And often it’s discrimination that prevents people in need seeking the help they require. So, Time to Change has set out to make sure that discrimination comes to an end. They focus on those who have successfully championed their way through mental illness and who want to help others. Also, they assist workplaces to encourage support of their employees and schools so that students may understand mental health better. Their website is full of resources, personal stories and ideas around ending mental health discrimination.
The Black Dog Institute has designed programmes that are geared to create healthier workplace environments. They’re in the business of designing and implementing workplace programmes that support mental health and wellbeing. Businesses are assisted with creating an organisation that is non-discriminatory and open to helping those who need mental health support. The programmes created can be designed to meet the unique needs of each company and be contextually relevant to the staff members.
The understanding that mental illness can and will affect just about every aspect of a person’s existence is the first step to finding ways to mitigate this global epidemic. At Bridge we take a holistic approach to supporting, caring and educating those in need. We have many resources and have created a support service that is flexible and can be harnessed to address an individual’s specific needs. To find out more about mental illness, download our Pocket Guide to Mental Illnesses, where we unpack the most common illnesses and disorders.