Mental Health For All

Text reads: “3 Good Health and Well-being”. Kelly green square with white heartbeat line and icon of heart.

WHAT’S THE CHALLENGE?

The term mental health encapsulates a vast number of conditions, but due to shame and stigma, people suffering very often do so in silence. One in four people will experience mental ill health at some point in their lifetime: that number is increasing due to the impact of the stress and anxiety caused by COVID-19 and its effects on our society. It impacts us all. Mental health is truly the great equalizer—and yet it is barely represented in the Global Goals. When it comes to addressing mental health, we are far behind the rest of the global health agenda.

One third to one half of people with severe mental health disorders in the Global North receive no treatment. That number doubles to 76-85% for people living in the Global South. Every 40 seconds someone, somewhere in the world dies from suicide. And yet governments, on average, allocate less than 2% of their health spending to mental health, and donors less than 1% of global health aid.

If we don’t invest in mental health, the projected economic costs for the world will be more than $16 trillion by 2031. The human cost will be incalculable.

WHAT’S THE OPPORTUNITY?

For the first time, governments, civil society, the private sector and philanthropy around the world are working together to speed up efforts to make sure everyone everywhere has someone to turn to in support of their mental health.

While progress has been slow, more and more action is being taken to secure the rights, access, and finance needed to fulfill this promise. Governments in many countries have begun to address outdated and harmful mental health legislation--in part because of the great work of the Speak Your Mind campaign. Powered by United for Global Mental Health, this is a global initiative striving to secure meaningful and urgent action from governments to invest more in mental health. For example, campaigners are supporting the Government of India to implement its progressive 2018 Mental Health Care Act, and in the past six months Tonga has both updated its mental health policy and tripled its mental health budget.

This Accelerator set out to build and strengthen a multi-sectoral response, catalyzing government action, calling on corporations to make a commitment to mental health in the workplace, and tracking quality data to understand our progress in this area and hold our leaders accountable.

ACCELERATOR COMMITMENTS:

  • Launch a global mental health partnership between the Speak Your Mind campaign and HSBC. In addition to supporting the work of this campaign, HSBC will launch a company-wide mental health education program across 65 countries and territories for their 238,000 employees. This education came about as a result of a conversation with their employees and demonstrates HSBC’s commitment to creating an environment where people can be open about their mental health. HSBC plans to share what they are learning with other employers that want to make mental health a priority for their employees.
  • Build on the success of the Speak Your Mind campaign to change global policy and practice, by celebrating the progress made in Sierra Leone. The Government of Sierra Leone had committed to amending the Lunacy Act from 1902, which has promoted the involuntary incarceration of people with mental health conditions. In 2020 a new bill guaranteeing the right of every citizen to mental health support will be taken to Parliament. Speak Your Mind continues to campaign for similar action around the world with the support of its partners. HSBC is the Title Sponsor of Speak Your Mind, whose Major Partners include Comic Relief and the Korum Foundation. The convening partner is the Born This Way Foundation. Official Global Supporters include YMCA, Global Mental Health Peer Network, Nexus and CBM.
  • Establish a consortium of global mental health experts to build the first independent monitoring and accountability mechanism for global mental health--The Global Mental Health Countdown 2030. It will inform government and philanthropic investment decisions, create accountability for policymaker commitments, and celebrate progress. This mechanism will be housed in an open-access database, available for use by policymakers and researchers around the globe.

PROGRESS ACHIEVED TO DATE:

  • Progress on the amendment of the 1902 Lunacy Act in Sierra Leone with a Cabinet paper for review of the act signed by the Minister of Health and Sanitation. On Cabinet approval it will initiate the process of guaranteeing the rights of all to mental health support.
  • Since September last year, Speak Your Mind has expanded to four new country campaigns (Peru, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Philippines), reaching up to 479.4 million with its call for greater action with over 10,000 seeking further information through the campaign website.
  • The Global Mental Health Countdown team is poised to collect its first set of data sets for analysis and will publish its first global report--focused on child and carer mental health and its determinants - in June 2021.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST RESEARCH ON MENTAL HEALTH AND COVID-19

UnitedGMH is working with partners on a regular webinar series to help share information and research from global experts and local practitioners to ensure people can be kept up to date on the latest information on how to improve mental health and how to address the impact of challenges such as COVID-19.

https://www.unitedgmh.org/news/webinarseriescovid19

COMMIT TO INVESTING IN WORKPLACE MENTAL HEALTH

If you’re a business leader, learn more about how you can increase your investment in your teams by emailing:

workplace@unitedgmh.org

STRENGTHEN THE MONITORING MECHANISM

Sign up to contribute your data and commit to use the Global Mental Health Countdown 2030 mechanism to hold all decision-makers, and each other, accountable for progress on mental health. Learn more by emailing:

countdown2030@unitedgmh.org

SPEAK YOUR MIND

Whether you’re a government, an international organization, or a local campaigner, the Speak Your Mind country campaigns provide a template for action to help promote the need for political and financial support for mental health. Visit

https://www.gospeakyourmind.org/the-campaign to learn more.

To join us or learn more, contact goalkeepers@unitedgmh.org.