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Mind Aid helps people with mental illness in developing countries get access to basic mental health care.

Photo by Robin Hammond/Panos

Over 270,000,000 people in developing countries have no mental health care. 

Some countries have only one psychiatrist per million people.
No medications. No counselling. Some people with mental illness are actually kept in chains (#BreakTheChains). 

Matthew Dickson, Founder of Mind Aid

About Me

Top 10 featured thought leader endorsed by LA Weekly

My name is Matthew Dickson. I'm a Canadian who is trying to help people in developing countries with no mental health care. I've suffered from mental health problems myself (schizophrenia).


My heart goes out to people in impoverished or war-torn countries who have to experience not only the torment of mental illness, but the traumas of poverty or horrors of war as well.


I bicycled across Canada when I was 20 in the middle of getting an engineering degree. I wanted to do more fun stuff like that - travel, explore.


At 22 I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. It was very difficult, but I want to point out the vast strength we all possess. Navy SEALs are taught that they are capable of 20x more than they think they are.


I believe it. I was called to do things that were "seemingly" impossible. But the point is, you can do them. They "seem" impossible, but they're not! Don't give up. Stay hopeful! You might amaze yourself!

It took awhile, but I have successfully recovered from schizophrenia. Find my best mental health tips here!


 Recovery is possible! Now I'm trying to help others going through mental illness, primarily in developing countries, as they have it worse than we do in developed countries.


Would you like to help? 

Find my best mental health tips here!

My Linktree links!

Buy Michelle Hammer's Schizophrenic.NYC clothing!

Vikram Patel was in TIME’s 100 most influential people list in 2015. Watch his TED talk called “Mental Health for All by Involving All”.

Welcome to Mind Aid!

Mind Aid helps people with mental illness in developing countries so they can get access to basic mental health care. It was made by me, Matthew Dickson in 2018. (Find my best mental health tips here!)


It is the first website of its kind in the world, with all the groups working on the cause on one site! Here you can donate (go to "Donate") to nonprofits using models of basic mental health care that are low-cost, proven effective, and scalable

Youth can be part of the next generation of leaders in global

mental health at!

A man with mental illness is chained to a tree

While receiving treatment from a native doctor, a patient is chained to a tree in the courtyard in Niger Delta, Nigeria. Patients are not given shelter: They say they are only fed once a day.  October 2012 Photo by Robin Hammond/Panos


People are suffering needlessly.

The WHO estimates that there are 450 million people with mental health conditions in the world. Approximately 80% of them (or 360 million) live in developing countries, where as many as 75%-85% don't receive any mental health care. That's at least 270 million or as many as 306 million people who are suffering needlessly.


Some countries have only one psychiatrist per million people. They have no medications. No counselling. No support groups. Some people with mental illness are even kept in chains (#BreakTheChains). Tied to a tree or a bed or a log. Some are put in cages with hyenas and end up injured or killed. Not only do people have to suffer the horrible conditions of mental illness alone, they have these other assaults they have to suffer as well.


Fortunately there are organizations that are trying to help. A model they use is to go into a community and teach some of the members how to administer their own basic mental health care to those who need it. It is low-cost, proven effective and scalable. BasicNeeds US uses this model. The WHO uses a similar model called the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP), launched in 2008.

Vikram Patel is one of the world's leaders in global mental health. Watch his TED talk for more information, or read his Discover Magazine article.   <BACK TO GOALS


A man with mental illness lies in bed holding his head

The look of terror on this man's face captures the extreme despair of those caught in Africa's makeshift mental health "care" institutions.  Photo by Robin Hammond/Panos

Imagine a world without mental illness.

What would it take?


1) Donate to or fundraise for these 10 nonprofits giving basic mental health care in developing countries directly on their websites:,,,,,,,,, and



You can also buy gifts of mental health support for kids suffering from war, conflict, or disasters at Plan Canada and World Vision Canada. UNICEFOXFAM, International Medical Corps,

and Doctors Without Borders also give mental health support in many areas worldwide. 

2) Or to help pay my expenses, you can also donate directly to me:

a) On my Patreon page (What's Patreon? Check out this Patreon example, "Sailing La Vagabonde" - they sailed Greta Thunberg across the Atlantic Ocean!)

b) On my PayPal page

c) By cash e-transfers to

d) Or you can hire me to speak here!

No money? Start conversations about mental health in developing countries! It's free!


Funds raised from merchandise go to

to help women with depression in Africa!

Connect in Mind Aid Groups

Connect in GMHAN Circle


The #1 thing you can do to help people with mental illness

in developing countries is to have conversations about it!

betterhelp counselling website
Convenient, affordable, private online counseling. Anytime, anywhere.


World Health Organization mhGAP website
BasicNeedsUS website
Largest international NGO working in global mental health
United for Global Mental Health website
"United for Global Mental Health"
Robin Hammond's CONDEMNED book/photo project of people with mental illness in Africa
Global mental health leader Vikram Patel on cover of Discover Magazine

A Global State of Mind

Mental illness knows no borders.

Green String Network website images
Green String Network
African-based group that develops trauma-informed peacebuilding
Psychiatric Disability Organization Kenya website
PDO Kenya
Psychiatric Disability Organization Kenya
Global mental health leader Vikram Patel's TEDx Talk
Vikram Patel TEDx Talk
"Why don't we care?"
Ember Mental Health
Funds mental health programs in low-resource settings globally
Nivishe Foundation
Women- and youth-led mental health in Kenya
Starting conversations about youth mental health in Uganda
Mental health care in Nigeria
Mental health in Ukraine and more
Waves for Change Surf Therapy
Youth mental health in South Africa
Mind Matters Mauritius
Mental health in Mauritius
Threshold of Hope Africa
Mental health in Kenya
Kivulini Healthy Minds
Mental health in Kenya
Grand Challenges Canada
Global mental health
BasicNeeds Vietnam
Mental health in Vietnam
World Dignity Project
Dignity for mental health
CBT Kenya
CBT psychotherapy in Nairobi
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