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?
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 www.GenerationMentalHealth.org!
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.
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:
www.cbmuk.org.uk, www.pih.org, www.basicneedsus.org, www.strongminds.org, www.afinemind.org, www.mindsfoundation.org, www.psychcorpsghana.com, basicneedsghana.org, basicneedskenya.org, and www.tryglobal.org.
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:
b) On my PayPal page
No money? Start conversations about mental health in developing countries! It's free!
Funds raised from merchandise go to www.StrongMinds.org
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!